As I type, I find myself challenged to create this post on courage. The content is familiar and my first draft seemed to flow nicely, but it felt empty some how. And I think I know the reason. Because courage is a difficult topic for me to write about.
I have challenged myself to post something daily to my blog, and, 28 days in, I have felt really good about the progress I’ve made and that I have thus far been able to write enough to meet this challenge.
But something strange happened yesterday when writing the introduction to this series about wholeheartedness, vulnerability and identifying with our changes. I’ve realized my work in these areas is anything but complete, which means I am currently going through the stuff I am trying to write about.
While it’s really easy for me to write about things I’m going through in my personal journal, the purpose of this blog is to inform and guide. And so when I started writing about the concept of courage during change and transition, I found myself falling back on what is familiar to me, hiding behind a mask of knowledge and wisdom that is anything but real. Theory over practice. This is where I go when I’m feeling insecure and vulnerable. I want to sound informative and helpful, without disclosing that behind the scenes I am struggling with these things too.
And so I’ve decided to write a different kind of blog post because I believe what I’m experiencing is probably a better example of the role courage plays when we’re going through change and transition than my usual approach would be.
Courage, in this context, is about being willing to bare our soul and allowing our true self to shine through. It is raw, and uncomfortable, it is all-inclusive, refusing to discriminate between what we like and don’t like about ourselves, forcing us to acknowledge and accept it all if we want to feel whole and complete. There are no compromises. And it pretty much sucks.
Yet, at the same time, it is freeing. For this is who I really am. I am the person who has, for most of her life, put on a face of strength, persistence, achievement, success, only to have experienced the opposites in all respects.
Now, following a long hiatus during which I spent a lot of time and effort trying to break down the walls and take off the masks I’ve hidden behind and worn for so long in order to find what it is that I truly love and want to pursue in my life, I find myself at the point where I have to face certain aspects I wasn’t willing to see before. I still have a few more masks to remove.
And it’s scary, yet I know that in order to move forward, in order to be truly, 100% myself in my endeavors, which is what I’ve told myself I’ve wanted, and I do want, I need to fully step into this uncomfortable world of vulnerability and have the courage to see myself as I really am.
And so this is it. Having courage during change and transition is taking the step into the great unknown by truly getting to know ourselves fully, and being able to accept ourselves completely, even those aspects we might not like, are embarrassed by, and don’t want anyone else to see.
Seeing myself is easy compared to the acceptance part. For years I’ve seen or heard advice suggesting that we should love ourselves for who we are, and I’ve never understood how to do that until right now. To really see ourselves, we have to be willing to accept that we’re not those masks that we’ve worked so hard to cultivate. To have courage is to not just step around the masks, but to throw them out completely. For there is no going back.
Accepting myself completely means to also fully recognize that this is who I am and that I am no longer willing or interested in pretending to be anyone else. For those of you who have already achieved this point in your lives, I am truly in awe, because it has been a lot easier to read about than to do on my own. But here I am, masks in hand, ready to pitch them yet continuing to hold them just in case.
Well, true courage, in my view, requires getting rid of that plan b, and stepping fully into my plan a, even if I don't know where that will take me. The same thing goes when transitioning to change. Hanging on to what was, only makes it more difficult to accept what is, and this means the external parts of the change, as well as the internal parts. Letting go is the key, and it is usually way more easier said than done. So there you have it. As I conclude this post, I do so without the plan b. All masks discarded. The true me remaining.
I am compelled to mention that courage during change and transition also includes the willingness to let others see our true vulnerability. This isn’t to say that everyone seeking courage during their change and transition needs to share their vulnerabilities so publicly though; this is something I have felt the need and made the choice to do, because since this is definitely a learning moment for me, I thought it might also be for others. Connection can be a much more private affair though I assure you.
Tomorrow’s post will focus on compassion. Another word in the context of change and transition that may not be what you think.
Thank you for reading.
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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