Driving on the motorway, years ago, my frustrated brother asked if I always drove “Like this.” “Like what?” I asked. “Well, you press the accelerator and we speed up and then you lift your foot off and we slow down…over and over.” Unaware of this pattern I laughed, partly because the moment required it and mostly because it was (and can be) my approach to life. Courageously moving into the world and then withdrawing into an inlet; risk adverse, protective and immobile. My driving style had inadvertently captured both my potential and said in good humour, my pathology.
What in your life reflects your courageousness? Make a list. And where in your life are you fearful, risk adverse and low in the courage stakes? It’s good to know this about yourself.
Courage is a truly beautiful, noble and essential human trait. It creates positive change within us and inspires others. Courage, or the lack of it, activates two different parts of the brain, so it’s wise to practise and learn the art of courage for wellbeing and personal growth. Like all things, courage sits on a spectrum- we don’t need to jump into burning buildings but we can take small steps. To do nothing, can be to atrophy this noble trait.
So, if you’re prone at times, like me, to being risk adverse and not acting on your own behalf, here’s some things we might do to nurture courage.
–Breath, not that shallow fearful breath in our upper body, but breathing with intention into the belly. An abundant type of breath that says ‘I can do this.’
-Practise gradual courage. Small steps. If the metaphor is a marathon, start with walking and then 20 minute runs three times a week.
–Support yourself-We are our own harshest critics. Tell yourself you’re doing well, you can do it, it’s going to be ok or even great. Over and over.
–Recall times when you were courageous. This is powerful. Find a memory and recall it. Feel it in your body. Feel the strength in your legs, spine, and voice. Use that feeling to propel you into the next act of courage rather than into aversion and avoiding.
–Ask for support-nobody said you had to do this alone.
We get better at things by doing them. So, if your foot is steady on the accelerator, well done. If your style is start, stop-well done too because you know it and can do something about it if you desire. If your foot hasn’t quite made it to the accelerator, you instinctively know where it is and how it works. Be courageous. You can do it.