Finding courage

On Monday my heart sped up when I read a new definition of the word courage.

The root of the word courage is cor–the Latin word for heart. …Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart” (The Gifts of Imperfection).

Can you think of a time when you’ve been afraid to speak from your heart? I can.

Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line, Brené Brown writes.

Every time we stop our mouths from expressing our whole heart for fear of what another person might think, say or do.

Every time we hide our true feelings from our own mind or push them to the side because the risk is too great.

Every time we pretend we don’t care if we get that job or speaking opportunity.

The time we pretended to feel relieved after a relationship broke up, when we really felt as if our heart would never heal again. (Read here.)

And when we pay attention, we see it every day. I see it in my classroom when new students show up by themselves, willing to be a beginner in a room full of strangers. And I saw it in me Sunday night when I opened my mouth and spoke from my whole heart–bad and good–and, yes, even the deep, dark, ugly anger came out. I had never felt more vulnerable in my life.

We need heroes and brave people. But the most courageous act is simply allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.