Courage – mental or moral strength to venture,
persevere,and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
Cowardice – lack of courage or firmness of purposeDefinitions according to the
Courage or cowardice; cowardice or courage – what’s it to be?
They’re basically two sides of the same coin with something very significant in common:
They both require fear.
No fear, no courage. No fear, no cowardice.
Fear’s a normal part of life, especially if you love to s-t-r-e-t-c-h. There’s no point in beating yourself up for feeling fear, that’s a big waste of your energy. But how will you respond to it? That’s where your true power lies.
Courage and cowardice are such loaded words aren’t they? Let’s face it no one wants to be a coward! But, in this post there’s no judgement intended. I’m not looking at them as good or bad, just choices. It’s important to note that WE ALL choose both of them at different times. Sometimes we choose cowardice, we cower and shrink feeling beaten by our fear. Other times we choose courage, we rise up, take a deep breath and move towards or through the thing we are most terrified of. Neither is right or wrong, they’re just choices to be made.
We always have a choice. Even when it feels like we don’t, we do. We have a choice in how we respond and knowing this is a game changer. Sometimes you will choose courage and other times cowardice. It’s all good, but it’s even better to choose consciously and to know what you are choosing.
How to navigate fear consciously
Get to know your fear
First you have to notice that you’re feeling fear. It’s usually a feeling in your body, jittery stomach, tight shoulders, sweaty palms etc. Tune in and see what are you afraid of? Failure, rejection, spiders, abandonment, the number 13, clowns etc.
We all feel fear at times. Fear comes hand-in-hand with pursuing your dreams and desires, growth and learning, living your best life, self-transformation and all that good shit. If you don’t experience fear you’re probably living deep within your comfort zone, which is fine if you’re happy there but you’re probably in the wrong place right now! [ Fighting fear feeds fear so if you’re trying to move past it the only way is through it.
You gotta feel it to heal it.
Now some fears are just too much to feel your way through alone. Some current fears hook themselves to old traumatic fears. These stuck, frozen fears sometimes need a little extra help. I like to think that they’re showing themselves to you so you can process and be free of them, not to trap you, stop, punish, test or sabotage you. To help you to be, do or have whatever you said you wanted. If you’re struggling with old, stuck emotions, you really don’t need to. Get help, simples. Accepting it prevents you wasting your time stuck in the quicksand that is fear-fighting, fearlessness or any of that noble-sounding-but-actually-not, bullshit. FACT – you can’t beat fear with fear.
See the choices
It’s a great idea to be very clear on what the courageous and cowardly choices are as they’re not always obvious. I remember a participant from a workshop I ran who appeared very ‘courageous’ in the traditional sense. He loved to throw himself into things, visiting remote places, doing exciting things. He felt like he had
Are you going to rise to the occasion and meet the fear with courage, bricking it all the way or are you going to choose to cower and retreat for now. No judgement, it’s your life and it’s your choice. One thing to pay attention to is that whatever you choose you strengthen. The more we make courageous choices the stronger that muscle becomes, the same is true of cowardly choices. And sometimes you may take the cowardly route, just be real with yourself about it. That may be your final choice or it may be the choice for now as you build the muscle so you can choose courage one day.
Courageous and cowardly personas live inside of us all – accept that, it’s normal and human. You just get to choose the one you feed. I’m biased towards courage. I love to see people making courageous choices, it leads to a much more interesting and expanded life. The discomfort is worth it because of the gains and I’d rather that than the chronic discomfort of never living my life. When you make choices from cowardice your life gets increasingly smaller and unfulfilling. You also tend to experience more fear, since that’s what’s being strengthened, which leads to more cowardly choices. Just as courage feeds courage, cowardice feeds cowardice.
Be real with yourself about what you’re doing and the choices you’re making. Whatever you choose, do it consciously.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”E.E. Cummings
I love how the dictionary definitions above link cowardice to a lack of firmness in purpose. It’s definitely easier to make courageous choices when you have purpose and a clear vision for the life you are moving towards. It gives you an important direction in which to make your choices.
Right now in my life, I’ve made the courageous choice to slow down and take my time. Being impulsive and rushing around comes easily for me since my nature is quite excitable. Jumping in without thinking is familiar to me and I’m more comfortable with uncertainty than most people tend to be. Some see it as courageous and sometimes it is, but actually sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes I’m being a coward, rushing into things driven by my fear of missing out, regret and my need for fun and excitement. Right now, it takes courage to pause and trust my intuition, not my fear, around my choices. It’s a work in progress……
If you’ve had enough of the same old fears keeping you stuck in a loop of self-sabotaging behaviour, book a consultation with me and let’s see if I can help.