Courage - the ability to do something that frightens one
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the concept of courage. Mainly because I see it in my therapy clients each week.
I see it in them when they come in for the first time… vulnerable and raw, nervous to meet a new therapist or enter counseling for the first time, and afraid of what might come up.
I see it in them as they come back to counseling week after week. Each week is different. Sometimes they’ve had a great week and don’t feel like they even need a session, but they come anyway because they’ve made a commitment to growth. Sometimes it’s been a terrible week. These weeks, they muster up even more courage. They show up and face their difficulties head on. They fight hard for what they want to see different. They think about things in new ways and gradually make changes. They do the work.
I see it in them when they make the decision to end our counseling relationship because they feel like they’ve met their goals. They have a newfound strength, knowing themselves on a deeper level and having a better understanding of who they are and where they’re going.
My clients really look at themselves, even when they don’t want to. They take a hard look into their lives, patterns, and personalities and face the things they don’t want to see.
As Brené Brown would say, they’re “in the arena.”
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Culturally, in America, there’s this underlying assumption that vulnerability equals weakness. That we should just stuff the emotionally painful parts of life way down deep and “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.”
But that’s bullshit. Vulnerability equals strength.
It takes real strength and courage to look at your true self… to get out of your comfort zone… to see all the things that have been carefully tucked away for so long that you may not have even known they existed… to admit that you’ve got some things you need to deal with… to recognize your own faults.
The truth is, facing yourself is probably one of the most difficult things you could do in your life. You’ve got to be ready for it, because it’s not an easy course. It won’t always be fun. It’ll be uncomfortable at times. But it can be empowering, and the outcomes are well worth it.
Therapy or counseling isn’t the only way to do your own inner work. There are multiple avenues. One of my favorite avenues is through the Enneagram, a personality typing system. When you learn about your personality type through the Enneagram, it’s enlightening, insightful, and some would say life-changing. Just like with therapy, it requires vulnerability and the courage to look at both your good and bad parts. It’s a constantly evolving journey.
It’s tough to stay the path toward change and growth. But inner work is important.
It takes time. It takes grit. It takes courage.
If truly knowing yourself and growing as a person is important to you, join us for our 2-hour Intro to the Enneagram workshop on March 3. We’ll dive into the basics, including history, structure, and descriptions of each of the nine core personality types.
Space is limited, so register here today!
Brown, Brené. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. New York, NY: Gotham Books, 2012. Print.