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Love that Forces Change

· Real love,Brene Brown,Courage,Transformation,Speaking out

“Courage is love in action – love on her silver steed, forcing change in the world, rising to challenges, negotiating life with skill. And confronting others with care and wisdom.” – Stephen Post & Jill Neimark

I’ve been seeking out definitions and ideas around courage this week as it has become increasingly apparent that I must find some more from somewhere. When I think of courage Harry Potter, Hermione Grainger and their peers from Gryffyndor house come into my mind. I see also the well known historical figures of Gandhi, Joan of Arc and Martin Luther King Jr signifying political struggles and risking their lives for vital causes that they believed in. But what of the everyday own brand kind of courage? The courage that can be required just to get out of bed and confront another day; the courage to decide one day to stand up to bullies in the playground; the courage to protect your boundaries with friends and those closest to you. What of that kind? The quote above is from a book called ‘Why good things happen to good people’ by Stephen Post and Jill Neimark and it has comforted and made sense to me and I wanted to share it with you.

Courage is to do the thing that is right; it is almost never the thing that is easy. It means standing up to people and for what you value and hold dear. It doesn’t necessarily mean being a hero, though sometimes it might. In my search for courage – literally as well as literarily - I found that the root of the word comes from the latin ‘cor’ or heart. The original meaning of courage, according to Brene Brown (who I defer to on most life matters), meant ‘to speak one’s mind whilst telling all of one’s heart’. So it is clear that it is about love, what is true for you and sharing it to effect change for the better. I also learn that ‘encouragement’, containing the word courage, is literally to give heart to another. This is the essence of courage.

Clearly courage is about developing resilience and a strong back to be able to face down your challenge but it also includes a certain openness and kindness – or a soft front, as Brene Brown terms it. In the above quote the words that stick out to me, and I have been turning over, are: ‘to confront others with care and wisdom’. It is a much more sophisticated form of courage. Sometimes it can feel hard to speak out because we feel we will upset people but it is heartening to know that we can practice ways of doing it that are full of empathy and kindness. Our words may still fall on stony ground, and we may not be liked at the time for what we have to say, but it is vital that we do speak out when something is not right.

If we are brave, we can pave the way and encourage others to do the same. Bravery is not the absence of fear, fear is definitely there but we do it anyway. If the status quo is wrong and no longer serving us we must effect change to improve lives. We must take action... and repeat... and repeat.

So rather than looking externally for this courage, once again I realise the source is here all along inside. We may have to look hard for it, but it is there somewhere. Once more into the breach dear friends!

I wish you well, with encouragement from my heart to yours.

Clare x

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