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How to Be Courageous

How to Be Courageous

    What do you think of when you think of courage? Perhaps you think of a firefighter running into a burning building to save someone. Maybe you think of a person facing a battle with cancer or a parent fighting for their disabled child’s rights. While those are great examples, I don’t think that strength and courage are always as as noble or rare as that.

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    For someone struggling with depression, getting out of bed in the morning is courage. For someone successful in their career, striking out on their own is strong and courageous. For those of us who like to put our best foot forward — don’t we all? — it’s simply this:

    True courage is risking being uncomfortable.

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    I am a volunteer firefighter, and do you know what the hardest thing is about fire fighting? Showing up. Just getting out of bed when the pager goes off at 1 a.m. to face an unknown situation. We never have very many details of the call we are responding to. We rarely have an indication of whether we will be gone an hour or eight. I don’t know if I am going to be asked to do something I’ve never done on a real scene before, something I’ve only done in practice. Even just going to practices takes strength and courage. I never know what new skills we will be taught, or if we will do a scenario which tests our ability to act as well as problem-solve. And I never know if I might end up looking foolish.

    That’s really what it boils down to, doesn’t it? None of us likes to look foolish. Sometimes, if we are in a comfortable rut in our lives, we can end up too concerned with appearances. We end up paralyzed or we maintain the status quo, thinking that we’re doing really well holding our own. We’re not losing ground, so we must be growing, right? Wrong. True personal growth only happens when we move forward, and that only happens when we have strength and courage and face our fears. Usually, it is nothing more than being willing to risk being uncomfortable or looking foolish. Going to practices at the fire hall, I have to be willing to get way outside my comfort zone, do my best to learn a new skill, and risk looking foolish the first time I do it.

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    Here are four tactics you can try to become more courageous:

    • Be willing to go. Start out by just being willing to do that difficult thing, even if you aren’t actually doing anything yet. In cases where the difficult task to face has been thrust on you, like being diagnosed with cancer, being willing can be a tough thing; think of it more as being willing to accept that you are where you are, and stepping forward into each moment with the most serenity you can maintain.
    • Watch how you talk to yourself. Focus on how others have done it, how maybe it won’t be as hard as you think, or how it really is just about being uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable never killed anyone, and although the thing you need strength and courage to do may be tough, it won’t kill you either. If you are facing a serious illness, talk about why you want to be well, and talk as little as possible about your actual condition.
    • Practice on small things. If you have a really big situation you’re facing, practice on smaller uncomfortable things and then apply that success to boost your confidence to take on the big thing. I didn’t start out at the fire hall driving fire trucks. I started out putting my gear on, washing trucks, and laying down hoses.
    • Take a deep breath and do it. I hate to tell you this, but firefighters aren’t all that courageous. Our courage comes when we sign up for the job, and after that, it’s all just taking a deep breath and doing what we’re trained to do.

    (Photo credit: Singe Firefighter via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 5, 2019

    5 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Yourself

    5 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Yourself

    When it comes to being yourself, there can be a lot of pressure from the outside world as it tries to influence who you are. Living in a society that is constantly developing, it’s important for you to always be yourself from the inside out. When you deeply know yourself and the boundaries that you have set, you are more likely to experience a fulfilling and rewarding life. Without knowing yourself and establishing those boundaries, you can easily be pushed around and end up on a dirt path.

    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” – Matthew 7:13-14

    You have the option of taking the path that is broad or taking the path that is narrow. You can either conform to what life wants you to be, or have the courage to remain true to yourself throughout the years. It’s definitely a challenge to have a strong sense of self when we are constantly getting distracted and being influenced by the media and society’s way of life. But if you want to reach your fullest potential in life, it all starts with being yourself.

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    Why should you always be yourself?

    Because you will:

    1. Live in alignment with your values and beliefs. Being yourself is all about knowing what you believe in and the values that you live by. When you are not yourself, you will take on the values and beliefs of others. This is when you start conforming to other people’s expectations and way of thinking. When you know your values and why you do what you do, you will live according to your own values and beliefs.
    2. Establish your own identity. When you are able to have a solid foundation of being you, you are establishing your own sense of identity. No matter what happens in your life, you will always know who you are. There will be times where you may feel lost or distracted, but if you have your own identity you’ll be able to get back on the right path. Without establishing your own identity, you may easily conform and lose yourself.
    3. Build courage. It takes a great amount of courage when you decide to take the path that goes against the crowd. The reason why the majority of people take the broad path is because it’s easy. It’s easy to just follow the crowd. It’s more of a challenge when you stay true to yourself and establish your own identity. This challenge of always being yourself takes courage and inner strength. No matter what comes your way, you’ll know how to handle it.
    4. Establish boundaries. When you are always yourself, you know what your limits are and the boundaries that you have set for yourself. When people cross your boundaries, you will know. But if you don’t establish boundaries, people may very well walk all over you and take advantage of you. If you are always yourself and you establish boundaries, you are more likely to be aware when people start taking advantage of you. Create and establish your boundaries.
    5. Find focus and direction. When you are always yourself, you are more likely to have focus and direction in your life. Imagine someone who is constantly conforming to other people’s expectations. Do you think this person has focus and direction? I don’t think so. When you stay true to who you are, you are more likely to know the goals you want to accomplish and how to go about accomplishing them. You are able to stay focused and know which direction to take in order for you to accomplish your goals.

    No matter what you experience in life, the only person that will always remain constant is you.

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    Featured photo credit: María Victoria Heredia Reyes via unsplash.com

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