How would you define courage? I used to think that courage and bravery was pretty much the same thing. I think most people do. When I used to hear the words “She is a courageous woman” I thought of a woman that was brave. A woman that was daring. A woman that was putting her life on the line. A woman that was strong. I pictured a woman standing tall, with both feet planted firmly on the ground and her hands on her hips. Basically, I pictured Wonder Woman.
I recently learned something along my quest of becoming my authentic self and making my voice heard. I was reading an article written by an amazing woman named Brene Brown. She said this about courage:
“The root of the word courage is cor -- the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.
Over time, this definition has changed, and, today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic. Heroics are important and we certainly need heroes, but I think we've lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we're feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage.”
After I read this I asked myself, “Am I a courageous woman? When I speak my mind do I speak from my heart?” I thought about all of the times in my life when I was too afraid to say what I really wanted to say because I was too afraid that people would see who I really was. I thought people wanted to see someone that was brave and strong and Wonder Woman-ish. I am now beginning to realize that people want to see someone that is vulnerable, imperfect, authentic and human.
A dear friend of mine, Sara, said that her definition of courage is being your authentic self in all situations...regardless. Now when I hear the words, “She is a courageous woman” I think of Sara, who lives her definition of courage each day. I think of a woman who accepts her imperfections and knows that she is always worthy of love and acceptance. I think of all of the women in my life who have taken chances, who have put themselves in vulnerable situations because they understand that to really live and love they must open their hearts.
Most of all, I picture a woman that allows herself to feel the pains and the hurts and the disappointments of her life and shares her experience with others, because in doing so, she also opens the door to feeling love, joy, hope, connection, peace and worthiness. No more Wonder Woman for me! I am a courageous woman. Are you?