What first pops into your head when someone says you’re “being courageous”? Do you go all Hollywood movie hero or heroine and saving the world with no thought to personal safety? Or do you think about pulling “big girl pants” or being “grown up”?
I’ve been thinking a lot about being courageous recently, and not just from the films and netflix series I’ve been watching, although I suppose they’ve added to the colour of my thoughts. [When Prince Charles, in The Crown, added his own words in Welsh to his inauguaration speech to help the people see him for who he was, that was courageous. When Harry Potter in the Deathly Hallows is courageous when he steps forward to challenge Voldemort in the final battle.]
My thoughts may have been more about individuals living every day lives, rather than princes or wizards, but we can still learn a lot from our Hollywood heros.
Time is a gift
I train volunteers to listen in a Listening Service locally. In part of the training we talk about listening being a gift to others. When volunteers first start their training they’re often unsure that this analogy is correct, but just agree with the trainer anyway 😉
As time goes on and they start to practice listening to others, and have others spend time listening to them during the training sessions, it becomes clearer to them that listening really is a gift. When you’re listened to by someone else, do you feel that gift? You may not have noticed it apart from the time that person has spent with you, which we may also consider a gift.
Some of these sessions help people talk about things they’ve never shared with anyone else in their lives before. It really is magical as a trainer to hold these people in such a safe space that they find their courage to be themselves. Listening training is not about opening up per se, but it just happens that to be able to listen to others well, we need to be able to listen to ourselves better. This often means finding courage to listen to what we may have hidden away from.
Being honest is courageous
When you’re honest with yourself, you may not like what you hear yourself saying or thinking. Yet this honesty opens up your vulnerability and helps you be courageous. Not everyone is honest – with themselves, or with others. Is that why we don’t think we see courage in everyday life, and have to wait for a good film or TV show to teach us courage?
We hear so much about the falseness of social media, or the fakeness of reality stars who many idolise. Would we idolise honest courageous people if people had the courage to be themselves?
Think about it. We all know someone who’s inspired us with their courage. They may have overcome an illness, or do some amazing things despite hardship or life challenges. What is it about these people that we find courageous? What is it about them that inspires us?
So why don’t more people have the courage to be honest and be themselves?
I don’t have all the answers here and I think there’s many areas we can look at to identify what we can do to unlock our hidden treasures. If more of us were honest and listened to ourselves and had the courage to be ourselves and share our talents and skills with others, what effect would that have on our families, communities and workplaces?
What I’d like you to do today is think about you. You may not do it often, as it’s so much easier helping others than it is helping ourselves isn’t it? When you spend some time by yourself with your own thoughts, simply listen. Listen to what you hear. Listen to your courage which you have a deep well of inside of you. I also recommend watching this talk, “The call to courage” by Brene Brown, a shame researcher who is a real inspiration. She brings vulnerability and courage to life, sharing her personal stories and those of people she’s been with who have listened and shown courage in their everyday lives.
If you can listen and be courageous to be yourself tomorrow, what love does that show to others and what effect would it have on those around you?
I’m exploring all the time. I’m learning to listen more deeply which is leading me to be myself. I have to say that I don’t use the word courageous about myself, but others do which is why I’ve linked it here.
“You so courageous to write a book”
“It must have taken a lot of courage to do that”
I’m simply being me and listening to myself. Finding my hidden skills and talents which no-one else has.
Let’s give gifts of courage by being ourselves and showing by what we do and who we are that by being ourselves we are giving true gifts of love.
If you’d like to book a listening session with me, I offer a gift of 20 minutes for your first session.