“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
Courage Is a Muscle
Courage is a muscle. And like any muscle, it needs to be developed and used or it can go flabby. When we survive a difficult time or challenge adversity, generally we can feel proud of that and it helps to grow our courage.
But what about the not so difficult times? I have found in my life, as I have settled into my own comfortable routine, that my courage muscle has gone flabby. Things I once wouldn’t have batted an eye at seem to scare me more now than ever. I was talking to my sister earlier and lamenting how the older you get the goofier you get, and she agreed!
Challenge the Fear
So, what is the answer? Well, you can stay afraid and hide in routine and safe pursuits, or you can challenge your fears. I don’t mean skydiving or bungee jumping, but if that’s what you want to do, more power to you!
I am thinking more baby steps to start. Identify a small fear you may have, be it going to a crowded store, or driving on the highway. Then play it out in your mind, like you are actually doing it. How do you feel? A little anxious? That’s ok! Do you think maybe you could challenge this fear and go for that drive? How about you set a limit, such as, ‘I will get on the highway and drive, but I will allow myself, no questions asked, to get off at the nearest exit if I need to’. And see how it goes. You might find you don’t want to get off, and that driving can be fun.
Either way, be gentle with yourself, the fears are very real. And every step you take to conquer them are a victory, and should be celebrated as such. If you can tackle one small fear a day, or every couple of days you will find your courage growing like the muscle it is! And if not, again, be gentle with yourself, you will when you are ready.
What small fear will you conquer today?