Finding courage and confronting yourself on a harsh reality of life will set you apart quickly from the majority. Many if not most of us will do anything – absolutely anything – to avoid looking into the mirrors of our hearts. We run away from the mirrors by blaming circumstances or other people. We cover the mirrors by finding fault with others and creating excuses for our own failings. Take time for finding courage and confronting yourself properly, and you can stop covering mirrors; stop running away from your heart’s mirrors.
This builds on the first three articles in this series, so you will want to read them first. Part 1 is especially important, since it tells where to find courage for every part of your life.
The Scary Part
Finding courage and confronting yourself on harsh realities about “you” can be frightening. Your very reason for hiding from such confrontation may be that you consider aspects of yourself quite scary, to be honest. You do and say things that you do not want to do and say. Those things may be driving a wedge between you and people you love. Some of those things may be exerting a negative impact on your work and friendships.
You are aware that things are not as they should be, but you are afraid to tackle the issues. That fear gives birth to overpowering behaviors, and those behaviors lead to other crushing behaviors. Before long, a veritable tornado of defeatist behaviors whirls inside. The storm is so frightening that rather than engage in self-inspection, you try to run and keep running.
It may seem as though there is no possibility of finding courage and confronting yourself, but that is not the case. Taking the right steps can lead you directly to the courage you need and, with that courage, you can challenge yourself to tackle each issue.
Seven Specific Steps
- Hiatus: Schedule an interlude. You owe yourself time to find courage. Peel off all activities that are not necessary to gain time for your search. If you still face a calendar of activities, delegate where possible to clear it. If interruptions still come, get away. Go on a simple camping trip to a quiet place. Read books and articles that will give you a grasp of the kind of courage that is a trait of strong character. The book entitled Courage is an inexpensive, easy-to-understand guide to finding courage. Avoid the temptation to use your hiatus simply for thinking without guidance. Simply daydreaming about or pondering the situation will be unproductive. Study carefully until you know what it means to have the courage of your convictions.
- Commitment: Bind yourself to absolute beliefs about what is right and wrong. You will not succeed with a moral compass based on society’s current thinking. Behavior that society accepts today is neither what it accepted yesterday nor what it will accept tomorrow. The unstable values set by society provide no strong foundation for confronting yourself. Create your moral compass with absolutes as sure as the points on the kind of compass that has guided travelers for centuries.
- Vows: Write out your vows, just as brides and grooms write wedding vows. Make promises to yourself concerning what you will find inside your heart. Promise yourself that you will stop running away. Promise to deal with any issues in a constructive, positive manner.
- Discussion: Recognize the problem or patterns of wrong behaviors. Resist the urge to scream at yourself. Do not argue with yourself. Carry on a rational discussion with your heart. Look at each issue objectively. It will help to imagine yourself as a third person who can see both sides of the situation.
- Integrity: Be honest with yourself. Face things about yourself that you do not like. Look at them carefully. If they exist because of moral failings, admit that fact to yourself. Hold them up, look at them, and decide what you will do about them. Talk with yourself about the negative self-image you harbor. What launched it? Why do certain things bother you? What will you do with them now? Hiding them again is not an option. Running away again is not an option. Set a constructive course of action.
- Laugh: Some annoying things about ourselves are not wicked. You may have to say goodbye to perfectionism even though those imperfections annoy you. While you are confronting yourself, you might do well to say aloud, “You are never ever going to be perfect, so grin, and bear it!” You may have to admit to yourself that you are stuck with the big nose you inherited. Laugh at that, too. Many people have far greater physical problems.
- Facades: You may have been maintaining a deception, hoping others will not guess at what you are hiding inside. Like a false storefront in an Old West picture, you may have been pretending you are something more than you are. Confront yourself with that fact. Be brutally honest about it, and tear away the make-believe. Exerting the great amounts of energy needed for constant acting as someone you are not takes its toll on your mind and body. Destroy the fake persona and be yourself.
Finding courage – confronting yourself – and making constructive changes in your life as a result can lead to increased health of both body and mind. Looking into the heart’s mirrors, facing what you see there with honesty, and taking action to change it can greatly reduce stress. Continue to exercise the courage you found to do this and you will be more in control of you.