Conversing openly with other people can take enormous courage! Think about the number of times you have withheld how you feel to a loved one because your long-held beliefs were in conflict, or you chose not to speak up during a staff meeting to reveal your ideas out of concern of being ostracized or even fired. Our relationships are defined by the conversations we have (or do not have) with the people in our lives.
Courage comes from the medieval Old French word, "corage," meaning “heart and spirit.” When you speak from your heart and spirit you are being true to yourself. Simply using the word “courage” to describe an action and outcome activates your voice and sets a context for positive action.
One of my Courage Coaching clients said, “I am so used to ‘filtering’ myself I almost forget I am doing it. My test of courage has been being able to share openly my deepest dreams and fears and true thoughts. With one exception in my life I have always kept a certain core totally to myself. Yet, when I was able to let go and candidly share this core, I felt enormously liberated.” This sixty-one year old man yearns to speak from his heart to be truly authentic. When his final time comes, he does not want to be filled with regret or resentment.
Authentic means “genuine; real.” When you combine the original meaning of courage (“heart and spirit”) with authenticity, you get the true you! If you long to alter the context of your life, to break through and achieve your noblest aspirations, then speaking the language of courage is the right tool.
You can determine the quality of your relationships by analyzing the conversations. For example, do you stay resentful toward your husband/wife, telling others of his/her faults, or do you take a stand in courage and make a declaration to him/her? Ask yourself these few questions:
The action of conversing with courage makes something new happen. Below are examples of how you can converse using the language of courage:
It takes conscious choice and effective action to dive into your heart and spirit to claim who you really are. Conversing with courage means you are unwilling to let anyone else design your life. Then you are not filled with regret.My favorite Pulitzer Prize poet, Mary Oliver, wrote in her glorious poem “When Death Comes:” I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world. Moral of the story: Design your life with the courage to converse. Listen to your heart and choose to transform yourself through language. Don’t simply visit this world.
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Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE, trainer and courage coach. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®. Please visit www.sandrawalston.com.
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