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Let Courage Lead The Way To Trying New Things

In last week’s post, we talked about three ways to cultivate your courage: Try, Trust, and Tell.

We’re delving more deeply into Trying:

  • How Trying is a core part of courage through being spontaneous, having fun, and trying new things.
  • Why Trying might be more challenging if you’re someone stuck in trauma survival, and
  • What you can do today to move through this to support your wellness and healing, and start to trust yourself.

To refresh your memory…

Trying is about the courage to take action, trying something new or different, “first attempts,” having initiative, leading, and stepping up. 

How Does Having Fun and Trying New Things Help You Build Courage?

Courage and having fun/trying new things aren’t necessarily words you often hear together. Overall, we perceive courage as more serious and adult-like, while we see fun as light and child-like. So I totally get why you may not see the connection. So let me share a couple of stories...

Story 1: Trying New Things and Courage… 

One day, I was talking to a client. And they shared they’ve been sleeping better. Better than they have been for years. The nightmares had decreased dramatically. So what was different?

They shared how they bought new bedsheets and why the old ones were associated with their past childhood and early adult trauma. They were reminders of parental pressure, conformity, and choices being imposed on them by other people.

Sometimes courage comes in making these choices that seem ordinary. 

Yet, this seemingly small act brought safety and security to this person. Why hadn’t they changed the sheets for so long? Because they were stuck in a trauma response and reliving the original experience. The most powerful moment came when they said, “it’s self-expression and who I am.” - This is the courage of trying new things and trusting yourself with the process.

Story 2: Having Fun and Courage…

A few weeks back, on one of my hikes, I realized I had never climbed a tree. EVER. Despite many previous hikes and loving nature, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind! 

So, I climbed my favourite tree and enjoyed the view.

Despite this openness to want to do it, as soon as I started, I could feel my heart racing, the fear building, and the hesitation showing up in my body because I didn’t know what to do next. 

I took a few breaths and tried to figure it out one step at a time. The tension and hesitation were there but didn’t stop me.

I feel confident to say that treating a childhood traumatic memory with EMDR a few weeks before this unlocked this spontaneity and freedom. On the surface, the traumatic experience would appear unrelated to this present-day reaction. What was unlocked, however, is this expansive capacity to be free. - this is the courage to try something new and unfamiliar.

This doesn’t mean you have to do EMDR (though I’d highly recommend it). It means you can find many different ways to use the courage to Try to restore your wellness and support your healing in as many areas and moments as possible. 

Why is Trying Harder When You’re Stuck in Survival Mode?

Stuck trauma blocks or interferes with your ability to get out of your comfort zone to try new things, so you may have a more challenging time getting started, or you might find yourself delaying necessary actions. 

So why does this happen?

Your brain might misperceive new things that are unfamiliar to you as stressful. So, your survival system gets activated when you want to try something new. This activation would make it harder to try because you might find yourself:

  • Afraid to get things wrong
  • Wanting to get things over with
  • Worrying about making mistakes to the point where you would stop
  • Feeling very black and white about trying (i.e. I either succeed or fail, there’s no middle ground)
  • Thinking that if it didn’t work, it would be a catastrophe 

But, when you can create the feeling of calm, safety, and security, you:

  • Become more open to new information
  • Get comfortable with ambiguity
  • Can see the big picture
  • Feel peaceful and playful
  • Get curious and have fun
  • Less afraid of making mistakes, or they don’t make you stop/freeze
  • Have increased confidence to apply yourself

Safety and security can happen:

  • Internally: Through visualization, meditation, and similar activities
  • Externally: Through creating or carving out sacred spaces, connecting with safe people, and things/items (e.g. wearing a spiritual symbol as a necklace)

It’s important to highlight that what we’re talking about here is the feeling of safety.

Establishing this feeling is necessary for engaging with the courage of Trying something new or fun.

The Intention in Action

What Can You Do TODAY?

...to have more fun is to focus on its ingredients, by which I mean, do everything you can to fill your life with more moments of playfulness, connection and flow. -Catherine Price

Here are some ideas to keep in mind and try:

  • Playfulness is: Doing things for the sake of doing them and not caring too much about the outcome. Letting go of perfectionism. Having your guard is down. Not taking yourself too seriously.
  • Connection is: The feeling of having a special, shared experience. It's possible, in some circumstances, to have fun alone and for this feeling of connection to be with yourself, the surroundings, or the activity.
  • Flow is: Being so engaged and focused on whatever you're doing that you can even lose track of time. Being “In the zone.”

The Benefits

So why do all of this? 

Having fun and trying new things is good for your health - It’s a health intervention. It helps you:

  • Feel energized
  • Be present
  • Be in your body
  • Connect with yourself and other people
  • Feel joyful, alive, and radiant
  • Build courage and overcome fear

Ultimately, it helps you to trust yourself: your choices, your abilities, and your process.

Take a moment this week to put having fun or trying something new higher on your to-do list. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. As you saw from the stories, those acts seem very ordinary on the outside. Their significance to the person is what matters. Regardless of where you are on your healing journey, those seemingly small things add up to significant results over time.

Connect with me to let me know:

  • What you’ve tried?
  • How it felt.
  • What you’ve learned about yourself from it?
  • What stood out for you about it?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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
Woman on top of a mountain

Let Courage Lead The Way To Trying New Things

In last week’s post, we talked about three ways to cultivate your courage: Try, Trust, and Tell.

We’re delving more deeply into Trying:

  • How Trying is a core part of courage through being spontaneous, having fun, and trying new things.
  • Why Trying might be more challenging if you’re someone stuck in trauma survival, and
  • What you can do today to move through this to support your wellness and healing, and start to trust yourself.

To refresh your memory…

Trying is about the courage to take action, trying something new or different, “first attempts,” having initiative, leading, and stepping up. 

How Does Having Fun and Trying New Things Help You Build Courage?

Courage and having fun/trying new things aren’t necessarily words you often hear together. Overall, we perceive courage as more serious and adult-like, while we see fun as light and child-like. So I totally get why you may not see the connection. So let me share a couple of stories...

Story 1: Trying New Things and Courage… 

One day, I was talking to a client. And they shared they’ve been sleeping better. Better than they have been for years. The nightmares had decreased dramatically. So what was different?

They shared how they bought new bedsheets and why the old ones were associated with their past childhood and early adult trauma. They were reminders of parental pressure, conformity, and choices being imposed on them by other people.

Sometimes courage comes in making these choices that seem ordinary. 

Yet, this seemingly small act brought safety and security to this person. Why hadn’t they changed the sheets for so long? Because they were stuck in a trauma response and reliving the original experience. The most powerful moment came when they said, “it’s self-expression and who I am.” - This is the courage of trying new things and trusting yourself with the process.

Story 2: Having Fun and Courage…

A few weeks back, on one of my hikes, I realized I had never climbed a tree. EVER. Despite many previous hikes and loving nature, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind! 

So, I climbed my favourite tree and enjoyed the view.

Despite this openness to want to do it, as soon as I started, I could feel my heart racing, the fear building, and the hesitation showing up in my body because I didn’t know what to do next. 

I took a few breaths and tried to figure it out one step at a time. The tension and hesitation were there but didn’t stop me.

I feel confident to say that treating a childhood traumatic memory with EMDR a few weeks before this unlocked this spontaneity and freedom. On the surface, the traumatic experience would appear unrelated to this present-day reaction. What was unlocked, however, is this expansive capacity to be free. - this is the courage to try something new and unfamiliar.

This doesn’t mean you have to do EMDR (though I’d highly recommend it). It means you can find many different ways to use the courage to Try to restore your wellness and support your healing in as many areas and moments as possible. 

Why is Trying Harder When You’re Stuck in Survival Mode?

Stuck trauma blocks or interferes with your ability to get out of your comfort zone to try new things, so you may have a more challenging time getting started, or you might find yourself delaying necessary actions. 

So why does this happen?

Your brain might misperceive new things that are unfamiliar to you as stressful. So, your survival system gets activated when you want to try something new. This activation would make it harder to try because you might find yourself:

  • Afraid to get things wrong
  • Wanting to get things over with
  • Worrying about making mistakes to the point where you would stop
  • Feeling very black and white about trying (i.e. I either succeed or fail, there’s no middle ground)
  • Thinking that if it didn’t work, it would be a catastrophe 

But, when you can create the feeling of calm, safety, and security, you:

  • Become more open to new information
  • Get comfortable with ambiguity
  • Can see the big picture
  • Feel peaceful and playful
  • Get curious and have fun
  • Less afraid of making mistakes, or they don’t make you stop/freeze
  • Have increased confidence to apply yourself

Safety and security can happen:

  • Internally: Through visualization, meditation, and similar activities
  • Externally: Through creating or carving out sacred spaces, connecting with safe people, and things/items (e.g. wearing a spiritual symbol as a necklace)

It’s important to highlight that what we’re talking about here is the feeling of safety.

Establishing this feeling is necessary for engaging with the courage of Trying something new or fun.

The Intention in Action

What Can You Do TODAY?

...to have more fun is to focus on its ingredients, by which I mean, do everything you can to fill your life with more moments of playfulness, connection and flow. -Catherine Price

Here are some ideas to keep in mind and try:

  • Playfulness is: Doing things for the sake of doing them and not caring too much about the outcome. Letting go of perfectionism. Having your guard is down. Not taking yourself too seriously.
  • Connection is: The feeling of having a special, shared experience. It's possible, in some circumstances, to have fun alone and for this feeling of connection to be with yourself, the surroundings, or the activity.
  • Flow is: Being so engaged and focused on whatever you're doing that you can even lose track of time. Being “In the zone.”

The Benefits

So why do all of this? 

Having fun and trying new things is good for your health - It’s a health intervention. It helps you:

  • Feel energized
  • Be present
  • Be in your body
  • Connect with yourself and other people
  • Feel joyful, alive, and radiant
  • Build courage and overcome fear

Ultimately, it helps you to trust yourself: your choices, your abilities, and your process.

Take a moment this week to put having fun or trying something new higher on your to-do list. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. As you saw from the stories, those acts seem very ordinary on the outside. Their significance to the person is what matters. Regardless of where you are on your healing journey, those seemingly small things add up to significant results over time.

Connect with me to let me know:

  • What you’ve tried?
  • How it felt.
  • What you’ve learned about yourself from it?
  • What stood out for you about it?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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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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