Courageous Living

 In Living Our Best Life, Power of Relationships

I’ve been thinking lately about living a fearless life. The problem is I don’t know what that really means. Fearless in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is defined as: free from fear, brave. That doesn’t help me understand how to live a fearless life. It’s a conclusion. It’s not possible to live a life without experiencing fear. It’s an emotion that we all are born with that is necessary for our survival.

My previous post ‘Great Strides and Small Steps- Fear“, talks about the book The Upside of Your Dark Side. We embrace a fuller life when we don’t run from negative associated emotions. They serve a valuable role in our lives, provided we don’t allow them to mow us down and that we constructively deal with them- which can be a tall order at times.

When I looked up the word courageous, here’s what I found: “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.” That’s a word that makes sense to me. Despite fear, difficulty or danger I chose to persevere. I can relate to that idea.

Who in your life exemplifies courageousness? For me, it’s my life long best friend, Tim Johnson, who passed away in 2012 from colon cancer. Tim grew up in the tiny logging town of Noti, a bend in the road between Eugene, Oregon and the Pacific Ocean. He was the first in his family to graduate college. He didn’t play the guitar until his freshman year in college.  He had a thousand reasons to not believe he could be more than the tiny town he grow up in.

At age 29 Tim packed up everything he owned in to his van and drove to Nashville to “make it” as a songwriter. When he passed away he had numerous #1 hits and over a 100 cuts.

The root word of courage is “cor”. In Latin, it means heart. That is where courage comes from. It’s how we prevail in spite of all those common sense rationales (fears and anxieties) that tell us we shouldn’t try. Understanding what is at the center, or heart, of who we are, is one of the sources to living a courageous life. It’s not a life without fear. It’s a life where we don’t allow our fears to stop us in our tracks.

I’m certain Tim could have listed more reasons why it was crazy to think he could make it as a songwriter in Nashville than why it would work out. He didn’t act fearless. Instead, he became courageous.

I think all of us have places in our lives that we let common sense prevent us from living our best lives. Maybe we don’t want to rock the boat, take a chance and be the fool or we don’t want to be seen as imprudent.

My challenge to you is to pick a truth about yourself that you are not living or being and write down all the reasons why your mind tells you it can’t happen. Next, write down why it can happen and what your life would feel and be like if it was true. Here’s the hard part, find someone you trust and talk about it.

The fears and anxieties that live in our mind are far less controlling when we share them with someone else. They are deceptively more powerful when we keep them to ourselves. Writing down why something you desire can happen and sharing it with someone, gives equal time to our possibilities. Shouldn’t we be giving at least equal time to what is at the core of our being?

Courageous living is not limited to big life changes, either. It’s about everyday living and the many small thoughts, decisions and actions we make. The better we understand who we are and what we desire to become, the more we discover there is to be courageous about.

Tapping into the courage that it takes to live our core is how we live our best lives.

I can’t live a life free from fear. But I can live a courageous life.

What truths would you be living if fear, anxiety and uncertainly weren’t stopping you?

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  • Sandy Green

    Jim, I was on the porch with Tim as he watched you leave.He watched until your car went out of sight.There was agony in his eyes but also appreciation for the effort you made to come so far to say good-bye…Even in his worst hours Tim had courage. Right now the beautiful song,God only Cries For The Living, that Tim wrote popped into my mind. Only a courageous heart could have written those words.You meant so much to Tim…Thank You…from Tims mama- in-law

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