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Courage: noun

1.the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear; bravery.

2.Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.


Displaying courage is often one of life’s most difficult challenges. As a child, you first come into contact with it when you’ve done something wrong and have to own up to it. As a teen, admitting that you’re infatuated with someone takes just about everything you’ve got. And as an adult, courage is required daily: to ask for a raise, to quit your job, to make yourself vulnerable with someone.

But what is it that enables courage? That overwhelming moment when the adrenaline kicks in and you take that step into the unknown?

That’s where the second definition comes in: the heart as the source of emotion.

The Latin word for heart, cor, forms the basis of courage.  Taking your cue from your heart, from that compelling emotion that comes from deep within.

Too often however, our minds over-ride our hearts’ true desires. And I am not talking about material desires – although those have a place too! True desires, that will enable happiness, joy and fulfilment.

Palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware wrote a heartfelt article about the deathbed regrets of her patients.  Out of the top 5 regrets, 2 wished for more courage.

Here are 5 ways to follow your heart and show courage daily, to enable joy and happiness in your own life.

1. Learn to say NO

Stop putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own. We often feel obliged to a friend or family member to do something that causes stress or anxiety: say no to that! You might hurt their feelings, but they will get over it and you will feel better for it.

2. Ask for what you want

Don’t hold things in anymore. Ask for a raise, or a date, or whatever it is that you have been holding in the back of your mind, too afraid to utter. Even if the answer is no, you will know that you’ve at least tried and should feel good about that.

3. Say you that love someone, forgive someone, or are angry at someone

Be brave with your emotions and speak your mind. Bottling up only leads to an outburst, usually when it’s unfounded.

4. Let go

As contradictory as it seems, it is often easier to hold on to something that causes us pain, than what it is to let go. Your cause becomes your crutch: that thing that happened to you ends up defining you. To let go of a painful event in your past takes tremendous courage because it has become a part of your identity, but it is also holding you back on so many levels. By letting go of that emotion you take back control of your life. And this is not only true of big, life-changing events: we also hold on to the little negativities in our everyday lives.

5. Defy the Status Quo

Just because things have always been done a certain way, it doesn’t mean that is the only of the best way. Try something new, put yourself out there.

Courage should be a daily practice, where you listen to your heart and act accordingly. So let got of the reigns and be brave today!


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