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Cultivating Courage

Cultivating Courage

“Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”​ -Brené Brown

Courage is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger you become. It’s not a trait that one is born with, it’s developed over time through lived experiences. When I look at courage and resiliency, I notice many similar traits. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back after adversity and cope with life’s challenges. Courage and resiliency both require the individual to apply an “I can” attitude when faced with difficult situations. How does one cultivate that mindset? Here are just a few ways to develop courage.

Say yes to life:​ When you say yes to life…life says YES to YOU! When we try new or scary things, we need to put on our “courage armor”. Courage is a trait that we mentally put on, some days we need more layers than others. Trying new things takes courage and can be fearful, but is very rewarding. The more you get out of your comfort zone, the easier it
becomes and the larger it gets!

Support is a major bonus:​ Having loving friends, family or mentors that can support you when difficult situations arise is a major plus. It is much easier to cultivate an “I can” attitude when we have cheerleaders on the sidelines providing encouragement. It can be helpful to have someone hold a mirror and show you your strengths every so often. Also, sometimes we need an extra hand, as well as connecting with others to receive guidance.

F.A.I.L. or First Attempt In Learning:​ It is important to keep in mind that failing is a part of life, and we all fail at some point. Falling down or failing is how we learn, grow and discover our hidden treasures. Be kind to yourself when you “fail”. Reflect on the situation and try to think of what you learned from the experience, even if the outcome was not as you had hoped. Remember, we all start somewhere when learning a new skill or hobby. It takes courage to even try something new!

Visualize overcoming the challenge: ​Visualization can be a powerful tool to successfully navigate difficulties.Imagine yourself overcoming the fear, or successfully managing the problem. Try to be as detailed and specific as you can while you visualize.

You are stronger than you think: ​Adversity, challenges and grief are all part of the journey of life. Many times when we are faced with our fears, we realize we had the tools for success all along. We have no choice but to step up and be courageous. It’s typical to feel uneasy when faced with anxiety, but remember, you are much stronger than you think.