Where to begin? Courage
Main Entry: cour•age
Pronunciation: 'k&r-ij, 'k&-rij
Etymology: Middle English corage, from Anglo-French curage, from quer, coer heart, from Latin cor
: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
This is a word I’ve seen attributed to me lately right here in the comments on this blog. My initial reaction is to scoff, to downplay, to downright disagree. However, I am finally (oh I know you’ve waited a long time for me to see this) seeing that I do have positive qualities and one of those is indeed courage. I often do not give myself enough credit for things that I do, particularly if I am comfortable doing them for then I shrug it off as no big deal. Then again I don’t give myself credit for doing the things with which I am uncomfortable either, telling myself I was lucky, or it was a fluke, or I’ll never be able to summon the courage to do it again. I am indeed my own worst critic. Well, to hell with that. It has come to my attention that whatever negatives there may be in my life, I have done things in my life that others would fear enough to avoid or at least dread so yes, I can rightfully claim courage as one of my attributes.
Examples of Courage:
• Well, y’all saw one right here on this blog. Yes it took courage to bare my fat butt to the world, even anonymously. I wavered before pushing the button to publish that post Even after it had been pushed, I debated deleting it. Instead I summoned the mental strength to withstand fear of negative comments and of offending my readers who are already few and far between.
• Did I ever tell you about the weekend I spent with 20+ other women I’d met only online and that this weekend holiday was held on the opposite coast from where I was living? Yes I did. I flew from the West Coast to the East Coast, rented a car at the airport, and drove to a beach house rented by a gaggle of women I only knew from a message board on the Internet. I had never spoken to any of them except through email and the message board. I went all by myself. Most of the others there knew at least one other person there in real life. I never wavered in my decision to go until I had made it all the way across the country and had driven almost to the house. I seriously considered not showing up and spending the weekend in a motel all by myself, but I didn’t. I pulled up in the driveway, walked in the front door and summoned the strength to persevere, to venture on into the unknown. I had a wonderful time, absolutely great.
• Now this one seems such a little thing to me, but I know people who will absolutely refuse to do it: eat out in a restaurant (and not the fast food kind either) all alone. I have always been comfortable going out to eat by myself and never felt the least bit self-conscious about it (one of few things about which I didn’t feel self-conscious) until someone pointed out to me how brave I was to eat out alone, how they couldn’t do it, blah, blah, blah. So I got a little self-conscious, for a while, but then I got over it pretty easily since it was never really one of my bugaboos to begin with. I went back to enjoying myself, eating out at my own pace, smiling and chatting politely with the waitress, and
• Strangely enough, but I understand not too uncommon for shy people, I actually enjoy public speaking. Oh sure my palms get sweaty and sometimes my knees shake a bit, but I have never shied away from public speaking. Well, actually that isn’t true. When I was in college I was required to take one public speaking class. I was not comfortable, and even at the end of the semester did not feel as though I could handle even the small amount of public speaking I might have to do in my chosen profession. So what did I do? Took a second public speaking class. Unlike many of my peers who were just glad to get out of that basic public speaking class, I signed up for the next level course in the same subject. Had that class not helped I very well may have signed up for yet another. I have become more comfortable speaking to groups because it is not like speaking one to one, no eye contact is required. I can simply look out over the crowd and focus on no one person. For me, the bigger the crowd the better. Just don't ask me to speak to half a dozen or less. That's when it gets too difficult. Oh wait. We're focusing on success here not failure. It's a challenge to get over that negative put-me-down mindset.
I guess all of this is just to say that I need to appreciate myself more, focus less on the things with which I struggle and celebrate my successes. So as odd as it feels, I’m going to give myself a big pat on the back regularly. Because really I’m a pretty neat person, someone worth getting a pat on the back. Go me! I am one courageous woman.
Well, interesting to me where this post went. It kind of took off down one particular path, and I didn't really address all that I was intending, but I like where it went. And there's always another post in the future to address the rest of my thoughts.