I found this quote and it really made me stop and think. People throughout my life have always tended to call me courageous because of the way that I have handled the challenges (physical and otherwise) that have been my traveling companions in this journey. I, however, from this edge of the world would argue that I didn’t actually find my courage till about 15 months ago. Yes, I had always done well in school. Served as a literally poster child as a four and five year old. A keynote speaker for the entire incoming freshman class at my college as I graduated, giving them pointers on what not to miss. While brave to others, those things were not brave to me. Why you ask? All those actions were just doing things that others told me to or felt that I’d be a good fit for me. They were directives that I followed. People asked something of me and they received. And yet, here I was leading my life by being a follower.
So what changed? Almost two years ago I met my best friend. She helped (and is helping me) to strip away the fear in my life and become the leader of my own life . Recently, I have been able to find the confidence to make decisions and not be crippled by the anxiety of their fall out. If I do not want to do something because it does not work for me, I decline. If I do not like the way myself or someone around me is being treated I say so. I am a work in progress, but I have been blessed to see the positive results and transformations in myself as I learn to not only find a voice, but use it. Less of my energy is spent on trying to predict and please people and more of it is spent on rewarding those that do support me in my growth and positive change. There will always be detractors, as they experience the shift in power (and don’t particularly care for it). That is theirs to take on.
I’d encourage you to look around and see if this quote holds true to your life. What are you building your life around? Is it what you intend to? If not, how can you change that? I’ll let you know now, no matter the level of support you have, this process, when done right can be incredibly painful. It’s hard to look in the “mirror” and see all these cracks. Though on the outside, I looked like a girl well put together with lots going for her, I had to tear back to the very bottom of me to achieve the woman I hope to become. I left a straying husband, got real about financial health issues, and took a look at how I was allowing people to treat me. Even now, when writing the enormity of it all can be daunting. There are days that I want to run back to the “old life” because it was much more comfortable (even if in truth the comfort was my imagination). There are days where I feel I am an island with no one who understands. Where I want to just throw in the towel and go back to what I knew for years, because, hey at least I knew what was coming next and could brace myself for the storm. Fear was a constant companion in the journey, that more often than not got me to break and turn back to old patterns.
But that is no way to actually live, and those “old ways” would not be how I would like to spend what is left for me here. There is a huge misnomer that courage and fear cannot exist together. That with the presence of fear there is no courage. And then, my brother in law and wonderful others pointed me to some quotes that speak to the actual truths of fear and courage:
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” —Mark Twain
“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.”― Meg Cabot, The Princess Diaries
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” —Nelson Mandela
And so, I will use the wisdom and courage given to me in the right ways – to love those that inspire and help me to be the best Isabel possible. It does not mean that this journey will be without fear. Find those people or things in your life and cherish them. As I’ve said in other entries, I’ve been known to be a bit of an over-communicator. Truthfully, I don’t care. Earlier this week, I posted about a link between gratitude and happiness. I’m very very lucky because God built the “gratitude” gene right into me.
For others, it’s not as easy, but I can tell you when you find the capacity to be grateful, you will find that those meant to help you build your best life do exist. They may not be standing on your front door or at the coffee shop that you go to everyday. Maybe they are or maybe, they are just in the wings, secretly hoping you will find your destiny and become the best you. They are cheering you on and loving you no matter where they stand. It’s up to you to take the first step, and decide what you are going to build your life around :). On days where the fear is there, acknowledge it so it does not grow into something given far more power than it deserves. I know you can do it. The time is now. Start today.