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Courage Isn't A Buzzword, It's A Daily Practice

Change doesn’t follow a straight line. It moves forward in overlapping circles that add up over time. So sometimes, when you’re creating change, you can feel as if you’re repeating the same thing over and over. Or, you get lost in what you’re doing at the moment. It helps to stop every once in a while to check your progress and see the bigger picture. To be able to look back and say “wow! I wouldn’t have been able to do that a year ago!”

This is to the women and girls who are change-makers. 

It takes courage to be you when globally, “a woman or a girl is killed by a family member (or intimate partner) every 11 minutes,” according to a 2020 UN statistic (Source). 

Why am I telling you this? Because sometimes you do something that seems ordinary to other people, like choosing to leave a relationship, with great risk of danger and harm. Other people, who don’t share that experience, may not see the level of courage it took to make that decision.

This is for the courage you muster daily to take action, use your voice, and remain hopeful of change.

You may not realize all the ordinary and extraordinary ways you courageously show up. 

Today, I invite you to take a moment, reflect, name your courageous acts and acknowledge them.

What’s Courage Anyways?

I’ve been reflecting on what it means to have courage and polled some people in my life for their definition of courage. Here are some of my favourite ones:

Courage is being able to face yourself and forgive yourself. - Gigi

Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.

Courage is taking risks and resting your head at night knowing you survived the day without compromising your integrity or loyalty to yourself and others. - Ama

Courage is perseverance in the face of tough circumstances. - Tee

In therapy, I hear people talk about masking their pain for the sake of others. The moment you choose to take the mask off, is a moment you’re choosing courage. This is why to me, courage is prioritizing your dignity, self-respect, and healing despite the odds.

The Ripple Effects of Courage

When you choose yourself courageously and radically, you leave blind conformity behind.

With Blind Conformity, You:

  • Limit your openness to new ideas
  • Feel and act with prejudice and discrimination (especially in a group)
  • Lose your identity to blend in
  • Act passively
  • Participate less in your life
  • Prioritize your social standing or image at the expense of yourself
  • Increase your internal disconnect
  • Feel more distant from yourself, and then feel more empty over time
  • Hamper personal progress
  • Can become dependent, apathetic, and depressed
  • Lack diversity

The good news is, that you can change all these things by being intentional about courage in your life.

Courage isn’t courage if the thing you’re doing is easy. Courage involves risk. Therapy can be like this. When people come to therapy, they come because they have chosen to overcome what seems impossible. The moment you choose to engage in anything that involves you looking in the mirror, like therapy, is when you choose courage over what’s comfortable and easy. 

It is easier to remain in pain and prolong your suffering because pain is familiar. Don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t mean you like or enjoy the suffering. It means you know it really well, and it may be your comfort zone. I always say,

The pain of suffering is different than the pain of healing.

Types and Ways to Act Courageously

Here are some ideas on courage from Bill Treasurer’s work. He helps people and organizations live more courageously, and he thinks of courage in three buckets: Try, Trust, Tell. 

Try: 

  • Definition: The courage to take action and pioneering “first attempts”.
  • Associated with: Having initiative. Leading. Stepping up. Trying something new or different.
  • Requires: Overcoming the resistance to change. Getting out of your comfort zone.
  • Actual or Perceived Risks (What causes you to avoid this type of courage): Your actions may harm you or other people OR you worry they might.
  • Example: You make a suggestion at work or school and feel afraid or nervous. You think, what if I take this risk and fail? What if other people don’t like it? What if I disappoint x person? When you do it despite all of this, you’re engaging in the courage of trying.

Trust:

  • Definition: The courage to rely on the actions of others. 
  • Associated with: Being receptive and open. Following. Letting go.
  • Requires: Releasing control. Giving the benefit of the doubt. Presuming good intentions.
  • Actual or Perceived Risks (What causes you to avoid this type of courage): Other people’s actions may harm you.
  • Example: When you’ve been betrayed, it takes courage to trust again and be open to people. This is the courage of trust. 

Tell:

  • Definition: The courage of “voice” and truth-telling.
  • Associated with: Speaking up. Asserting one’s opinions. Constructive feedback.
  • Requires: Conviction. Admitting Mistakes and apologizing.
  • Actual or Perceived Risks (What causes you to avoid this type of courage): Exposing your opinions may cause you to be cast out of the group. Not Belonging. Being excluded.
  • Example: You decide to leave an unhealthy relationship, knowing it goes against your cultural norms and expectations. It may even bring threats or harm to you. This is the courage of voice.

In living intentionally this week, give one or more of these suggestions a try in a way that makes sense to you and your life. Or, spend some time taking stock of your courageous acts whether they are a Try, Trust, or Tell

Remember, courageous acts can also seem very ordinary in the moment. And everyone is at a different point in their courageous change journey. 

I’d love to hear from you:

  • Your definition of courage
  • How you showed up courageously in your life this week?
  • What did that teach you about yourself?

I look forward to hearing from you weekly.

P.S. Here are some related articles you might be interested in on the topics of Trust The Friend Zone and Openness to Change

We only recommend products we use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that are at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. Thanks

About the Writer
Sunset and parasailing

Courage Isn't A Buzzword, It's A Daily Practice

Change doesn’t follow a straight line. It moves forward in overlapping circles that add up over time. So sometimes, when you’re creating change, you can feel as if you’re repeating the same thing over and over. Or, you get lost in what you’re doing at the moment. It helps to stop every once in a while to check your progress and see the bigger picture. To be able to look back and say “wow! I wouldn’t have been able to do that a year ago!”

This is to the women and girls who are change-makers. 

It takes courage to be you when globally, “a woman or a girl is killed by a family member (or intimate partner) every 11 minutes,” according to a 2020 UN statistic (Source). 

Why am I telling you this? Because sometimes you do something that seems ordinary to other people, like choosing to leave a relationship, with great risk of danger and harm. Other people, who don’t share that experience, may not see the level of courage it took to make that decision.

This is for the courage you muster daily to take action, use your voice, and remain hopeful of change.

You may not realize all the ordinary and extraordinary ways you courageously show up. 

Today, I invite you to take a moment, reflect, name your courageous acts and acknowledge them.

What’s Courage Anyways?

I’ve been reflecting on what it means to have courage and polled some people in my life for their definition of courage. Here are some of my favourite ones:

Courage is being able to face yourself and forgive yourself. - Gigi

Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.

Courage is taking risks and resting your head at night knowing you survived the day without compromising your integrity or loyalty to yourself and others. - Ama

Courage is perseverance in the face of tough circumstances. - Tee

In therapy, I hear people talk about masking their pain for the sake of others. The moment you choose to take the mask off, is a moment you’re choosing courage. This is why to me, courage is prioritizing your dignity, self-respect, and healing despite the odds.

The Ripple Effects of Courage

When you choose yourself courageously and radically, you leave blind conformity behind.

With Blind Conformity, You:

  • Limit your openness to new ideas
  • Feel and act with prejudice and discrimination (especially in a group)
  • Lose your identity to blend in
  • Act passively
  • Participate less in your life
  • Prioritize your social standing or image at the expense of yourself
  • Increase your internal disconnect
  • Feel more distant from yourself, and then feel more empty over time
  • Hamper personal progress
  • Can become dependent, apathetic, and depressed
  • Lack diversity

The good news is, that you can change all these things by being intentional about courage in your life.

Courage isn’t courage if the thing you’re doing is easy. Courage involves risk. Therapy can be like this. When people come to therapy, they come because they have chosen to overcome what seems impossible. The moment you choose to engage in anything that involves you looking in the mirror, like therapy, is when you choose courage over what’s comfortable and easy. 

It is easier to remain in pain and prolong your suffering because pain is familiar. Don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t mean you like or enjoy the suffering. It means you know it really well, and it may be your comfort zone. I always say,

The pain of suffering is different than the pain of healing.

Types and Ways to Act Courageously

Here are some ideas on courage from Bill Treasurer’s work. He helps people and organizations live more courageously, and he thinks of courage in three buckets: Try, Trust, Tell. 

Try: 

  • Definition: The courage to take action and pioneering “first attempts”.
  • Associated with: Having initiative. Leading. Stepping up. Trying something new or different.
  • Requires: Overcoming the resistance to change. Getting out of your comfort zone.
  • Actual or Perceived Risks (What causes you to avoid this type of courage): Your actions may harm you or other people OR you worry they might.
  • Example: You make a suggestion at work or school and feel afraid or nervous. You think, what if I take this risk and fail? What if other people don’t like it? What if I disappoint x person? When you do it despite all of this, you’re engaging in the courage of trying.

Trust:

  • Definition: The courage to rely on the actions of others. 
  • Associated with: Being receptive and open. Following. Letting go.
  • Requires: Releasing control. Giving the benefit of the doubt. Presuming good intentions.
  • Actual or Perceived Risks (What causes you to avoid this type of courage): Other people’s actions may harm you.
  • Example: When you’ve been betrayed, it takes courage to trust again and be open to people. This is the courage of trust. 

Tell:

  • Definition: The courage of “voice” and truth-telling.
  • Associated with: Speaking up. Asserting one’s opinions. Constructive feedback.
  • Requires: Conviction. Admitting Mistakes and apologizing.
  • Actual or Perceived Risks (What causes you to avoid this type of courage): Exposing your opinions may cause you to be cast out of the group. Not Belonging. Being excluded.
  • Example: You decide to leave an unhealthy relationship, knowing it goes against your cultural norms and expectations. It may even bring threats or harm to you. This is the courage of voice.

In living intentionally this week, give one or more of these suggestions a try in a way that makes sense to you and your life. Or, spend some time taking stock of your courageous acts whether they are a Try, Trust, or Tell

Remember, courageous acts can also seem very ordinary in the moment. And everyone is at a different point in their courageous change journey. 

I’d love to hear from you:

  • Your definition of courage
  • How you showed up courageously in your life this week?
  • What did that teach you about yourself?

I look forward to hearing from you weekly.

P.S. Here are some related articles you might be interested in on the topics of Trust The Friend Zone and Openness to Change

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We only recommend products we use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that are at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. Thanks

About the Writer
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Hiba Khatkhat

A registered psychotherapist, life coach, and social justice activist. Born and raised in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), she immigrated to Canada and currently lives in Niagara. Hiba is passionate about Yin Yoga, interior design, travelling, dancing, and entrepreneurship.

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