C is for Courage

CLast week I was on a roll with several posts about speaking my truth. I really enjoyed writing them. The insights about the importance of voicing uncomfortable feelings in the moment were simple but profound. And yet, there is a big gap between the intellectual understanding of what’s good for me and actually following things through on a daily basis. It’s like knowing that that cake is not good for my waistline and yet eating it.

So, I am facing this dilemma again. There is a friend I need to talk to and the conversation is uncomfortable because I need to turn down a whole lot of… help. Any other time, an offer of help would make me jump up and down in excitement. Particularly today, as I am bed-ridden with sore throat (which is probably a physical manifestation of stuck words). But what to do if help she offers comes with a big dollop of… criticism. I don’t think she is aware of doing it. It’s often done rather insidiously, through jokes and examples from her own life. I’m sure she has no idea why I have suddenly gone all cold and distant. If I were to challenge her, I fear I’ll sound petty, I might loose a friend, she might get angry with me and think I am ungrateful, last but not least, several friends have recently turned away from her, and she might take my rejection personally.

Now when I re-read this list, what’s clear to me is that this fear to speak up is nothing but a whole set of projections. I am imagining how she might react in response to my words. Ultimately, I am also trying to control how she might feel towards me and what I have got to share. Not looking after my own end of things drains a LOT of energy. I’ve been obsessively thinking how to resolve this situation peaceably for weeks now.

But what’s missing? Well, what I need today is courage to put those insights into practice. Probably, just speaking up will be much easier than I imagine it. It might even help my throat pain.

This week, I have already experienced the wisdom of this realisation. I have completed my memoir six months ago. At the same time, I found an agent I felt drawn to. But my actions did not go any further. I sat fretting about it until… 31 March 2015. Then, within half a day I pulled everything I needed together and sent it to the agent. Surprisingly, I did not need to do more work on the query letter or the synopsis. What I needed was to feel courageous enough to make a step towards my future.

Taking action can be liberating. Sometimes, all we need is a little bit of courage.

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