When do you decide it’s time to be courageous? To put your heart on the table? To be honest to and of yourself?
We all have moments in life when we are afraid to be honest. And by honest I am referring to emotional honesty. Instead of saying how we feel about something we tend to sweep it under the rug, or tuck it away in a box and maybe even put it up on a shelf where we can see it.
That’s enough, right? I know it exists so I am “aware” … but there’s no way in hell I am opening that sucker up!
What is truly amazing about this behaviour or pattern is that at the time it is without a doubt easier. And who doesn’t want easy? But in actuality it’s not easier. Because eventually that box will fall off the shelf. And the contents will spill … all … over … the floor … and shatter into tiny little pieces that are incredibly difficult to clean up. It’s kind of like the pizza cutter … it takes much less effort to clean it right away as opposed to the next morning when the cheese has made a home for itself.
And now, laying all around you, is a large clean up that can not be avoided. And it’s arrived at a time when you least expected it. You are completely un prepared for this sudden rollercoaster ride. And trust me, it’s a nail biter. Years of disappointment, sadness, heartbreak, career failures, death, loss of self, whatever it is it’s a lot to navigate.
If we were simply ourselves and expressed our feelings as they arose we wouldn’t have these big hairy boxes on the shelf. It’s that simple. Sharing your feelings with a friend for example, when you are hurt by something that’s been said or done will present two things:
- an understanding of where they are coming from which will likely contradict what you are feeling because they are a true friend who loves you and the last thing they wanted was to cause hurt = your hurt will heal
- an understanding of what your friend needs from you in relationship = an even stronger more authentic relationship
The tricky part is what happens after your authentic self shows up…
When I was in my twenties I stumbled upon a recording of a conversation between my father and I when I was five. I was looking through the Consumers Distributing Christmas catalogue making my Christmas wish list.
“Look at this daddy. A remote control car!” I exclaimed.
“You don’t want that sweetheart … ”
“Yes I do daddy … it’s a remote control car daddy.”
“You don’t want that sweetheart. You want this dolly … this dolly over here. ”
“No daddy … I want the remote control car.” I say with even more emphasis.
And there it is. That is an example of being told what to like, what to be passionate about, what to think and what to feel. And it also affirmed that what was being shared was not accepted or valued. This is the birth of a pattern. A pattern that continued to weave in and out of my entire life. Thankfully, at the same time I was taught not to give up. And when I was ten I found a remote control car under the tree…
This pattern of not being authentic did haunt me. So much so that I woke up at 41 years of age and realized I was not being true to myself. So I started to acknowledge my complete and utter fear of the box. This fear would manifest as a warm sweat and a knot in my stomach. It was time to address the fact of the matter; I wasn’t loving myself to the capacity that I knew I could. So I pulled the big hairy box off the shelf and slowly started to take a peek. I really had no idea how full the box was or just what I’d find … but trust me when I say the contents were juicy.
So when I pose the question … “when do you decide it’s time to be courageous?” it’s a question that only you can answer. And in reality, there’s a good chance that it will be answered when you least expect it. Something will eventually force the box off the shelf. Unless of course, you choose bravery.
Pulling that big hairy box off the shelf requires all heart and a shit load of trust in yourself. Cracking the box open and exposing our truth is one of the hardest things we’ll do in life. Speaking our truth is when we tap into the heart of the matter and have the courage to truly share and embrace vulnerability. Trust the process. Because honesty breeds honesty. And with honesty comes vulnerability. And alongside vulnerability you’ll find courage. And when we are courageous joy can reside …