Thursday, February 4, 2010

Indecent Exposure – the Way of Courage

“Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them.”

I had a friend who I’d counselled informally through a tough period. This person made a rather frank admission to a few of their loved ones that required from them a density of courage hardly seen, let alone considered, in this world. They exposed themself albeit “indecently,” in the name of courage, but it required something more innate: trust.

They exposed their feelings in such a way of inherent risk. In situations like this, to know ‘the right way’ and yet also know that pain comes with the right way presents quite a giant hard-to-live paradox.

Things always generally work out well personally when we take these sorts of “gut” plunges. Sure, we don’t often get exactly the responses from the other person/people we were looking for or expecting, but some pleasantly surprising things happen when we’re honest with ourselves and others.

To expose ourselves indecently obviously requires courage. It also requires wisdom to choose the right way, time, and medium.

And it’s not until we start doing these things that we actually at times realise how many of those skeletons might lurk hidden (or half-hidden) in the closets of our conscious and subconscious minds. These things, unrevealed and unreconciled, do have an impact on our consciences and our lives—sometimes we’re just simply not aware, or perhaps there’s a fraction of denial in it all.

John Maxwell says,

“A [person] must be big enough to admit [their] mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

All this takes courage, and not a modicum of it; courage in copious amounts—yet, in amounts we all have reserves of. It’s also the faith to go the entire journey, to be big enough, smart enough and strong enough—a well-rounded approach to honesty is courage.

Returning to my friend; they ate their humble pie and it was the best thing for them, from the longer term perspective. They got the dark and ugly bits up and off their chest, delimiting themselves; those things that tend to hamper and nag away at us. That took a surreal sense of courage. And to go through some pretty dark days ensuing also took courage—to actually experience the heat of anger and adjustment, all before forgiveness could take place.

Nothing takes the place of honesty in courage—to come to terms with something within and to then be honest with others about it. This honesty in courage is a most necessary component to the true life that any of us can have. Try it and you’ll quickly see.

Courage is a tremendously empowering thing.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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