“This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one’s potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life.”
~Carl Rogers (1961)
The process of living the full life, where total functionality becomes us, is no place for shrinking; where we will, as a matter of course, shrink from time to time.
But from shrinking, upon the courage to be, we will grow.
Depending on how self-actualising we are, and in broad terms we all wish to actualise ourselves, we will engage with this subject to a greater or lesser extent.
It’s clear, if we subscribe to Rogers, that the courage to be is the nexus of the fully functioning life.
Living A Life That Enrols Us To Choice
The marvellous reality of life is each individual chooses what their lives are to be.
Nobody is forced to respond to life’s challenges in a faint-hearted sort of way. Likewise, nobody is forced to live courageously. It’s a fact, though, that we’ll skate between the two.
When we consider each of our moments enrols us to choice, and that each choice, however small, creates its own little niche of history in our lives, we begin to understand the consequences of courage or cowardice. Courage is aligned to truth; a willingness to abide by it, disregarding cost. When we don’t meet the standard of courage in our choices we deny or cannot handle the truth. These facts we surely all can relate to.
Between the two—the courage to be or the cowardice to shrink—is the level of mediocrity; to be lukewarm. There is no advantage in being lukewarm.
Addressing Our Propensity For Mediocrity
Possibly the only way we can become the fully functioning person, which is only ever a temporary arrangement, subject to our ability to be courageous, is by dispelling mediocrity. In this we attempt to perfect our courage, without being a perfectionist about it.
Instead of perfectionism, we necessarily learn to become learners.
One way of becoming more open is searching for quotes, a Word from God, some sort of life mantra or vision or purpose statement, together with finding role models or mentors for courage, and even a vision of what our courageous selves looks like. There are so many ideas, but we need concepts that fit with our personal requirements.
The key indicator is we would experience less and less fear in our living life more fearlessly. Furthermore, evidence of courage is acting especially in the presence of fear.
The secret in becoming a fully functioning person appears to be the ability to act consistently courageous; to launch ourselves fully into the stream of life, being open to growth. When we live with the courage to become ourselves we enjoy more peace, joy, love... the Fruit of the Spirit.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.