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Courage. This is a word I've thought about often in my 30 years on this earth. Many times I have heard, or spoken of, the courage of people in the military or civil service who dedicated themselves to protecting my freedoms,  serving my country, and allowing me to go about my daily life. But really, courage was something I learned about as a young kid moving schools and just dealing with growing up. It's not easy being the new kid and I have very specific memories of moments where I chose to be brave so that I would fit in or so that I wouldn't find myself alone.

This is the courage I've been reflecting on today. The courage to be oneself. I often say that I am happy for all the things my life has dealt me because I love who I am and where I am today. Of course, this doesn't mean that I don't still find myself encountering instances where I need quite a bit of courage.  And the more I reflected on this, the more I realized that more than ever, despite my generally feeling comfortable in my own skin and knowing "who I am", I look to find courage within myself to get through the day.

(Just in case you needed a little clarification - Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines "courage" as : mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty)

Here are just a few instances in which I found myself needing to muster up a bit of courage (all from yesterday, by the way):

  • I went to a coffee shop where  1. I had never been before and 2. at which there was no menu (annoying even though I usually just drink black coffee - what size do I order? do they have multiple kinds of black coffee? etc).... | New situations are always intimidating and require courage to say to yourself "I am not the only person who has ever done this for the first time" and "There are no dumb questions when something is new to me or anyone else for that matter."
  • Seeing my ex's engagement photos... | I've been, for the most part, single since this particular ex and I broke up several years ago (partly by choice and then the other part not by choice- ha!). Anyone who's been in the situation where someone they love moves on and finds what you thought you had with that person, with someone else, has experienced the need to muster up some courage to affirm that things really do happen for a reason. AND, of course you remember that amazing trip you took and they way you used to laugh together, but, oh, uh... remember that time he made you feel disrespected or the fact that he couldn't show up on time to anything and it drove you nuts? It takes courage to acknowledge that the other person has found something that they feel is the right fit for their life AND to acknowledge that they WEREN'T the right fit for yours.
  • Apologizing and trying to "fix" a situation in which I sent too many text messages to someone while under the influence of bourbon. and vodka. and a crush... | I tend to talk quite a bit. I am recognizing, over the last couple months, that I talk even more when I'm subconsciously nervous - especially when trying to make a romantic connection with someone. It takes courage to make these observations and acknowledge that sometimes you can be a little bit ridiculous ... (all with the best of intentions)! Finding the courage to recognize places in your life where you can make improvements or grow can be really difficult, but also the most rewarding!

The final thing I'll say about personal courage is this: each day we make the choice to be honest with those around us. Honest in being our true selves instead of someone we think someone else wants us to be, honest in that we are human and make mistakes, honest in not making excuses when we do make mistakes or don't give a situation our best self, and honest in acknowledging that each day we all deal with a lot of situations that may not be easy for us but that we find the courage to face because we are being our true selves, with all our downfalls and all our strengths.

Where did you find yourself needing a little extra courage today?