A Shot Of Courage

“Courage is found in unlikely places.”-J.R.R Tolkien

Two things you’ll need to make any major change in your life are a shot of courage and a slice of bravery. Actually, before you even begin to make the changes you’ll need to identify and admit to the necessity of that change. That’s where we especially need a shot of courage and that’s only the beginning. The rest is getting from here to where we want to be.

I often have women contact me and confess to me their darkest thoughts about their husband, marriage or life in general. Sometimes it’s a complete confession of abuse and disrespect that they can no longer tolerate. Besides the fact that I wrote my book with these women in mind, I am inspired to dedicate a blog post just to them. So, for those who are short on courage and aren’t we all most of the time?…this one is for you.

According to Merriam Webster:

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Bravery: feeling or showing no fear

So, you can be brave without courage. Bravery is the show of courage and it’s important for appearances but it’s the courage that we need to truly make the changes in our life.

First, admitting that we need to change our life takes guts. Actually sitting down and having a conversation with yourself can be fear inducing and yet if we don’t take that first step we can’t possibly move forward to the life we deserve.

When I first admitted the truth about my marriage, it scared the hell out of me. I wrote about that in The Wine Diaries…here’s the excerpt:

“AFTER one of these crying jags it got peaceful and quiet.  I sat in my bedroom in absolute silence.  My heart spoke to me in this moment.  “Your life is going to change”.  I sat straight up.  Did I just hear that?  I realize now it was my own spirit giving me guidance.  I now knew I had to change my life.  The relief I felt in finally admitting this was enormous.  I had finally wrapped my head around the idea that not only did I deserve a more fulfilling life but that I, myself was going to do something about it.” The Wine Diaries-Broken Dream Home

Let’s face it, it’s way easier to coast along in life. Just let it ride. Get up and do it all over again. Why? Because we’re used to it. It’s what we know and usually there are some good things there, things that make us comfortable. It’s not all bad. She has it worse than me. That’s what we tell ourselves to accept our life the way it is, even if we’re deeply unhappy.

When we finally do get the courage to admit we have to change, then we must take action. What the hell are we going to do about it? For example, we all have that friend. You know the one who likes to complain about things in her life. Maybe she complains about her job, her husband or a friend but she does it constantly. If you make suggestions to help her she finds a reason why it won’t work. These people haven’t found their courage yet. They’re stuck in the first phase. We don’t want to be like that, right?

So, how do we avoid being that person? We gather up our courage and make an action plan. We try to fix it. This is the hardest part but it is necessary. It will take a brave face to do it because while we’re taking action we may not feel confident. We’ll have many people asking us what the hell we’re doing. This is what I like to call the You’ve Gone Crazy Phase of change. Your closest relatives and friends will throw the ‘crazy card’ at you.

“Have you lost you mind?” they’ll ask you.

“No. I’m finding it.” you’ll answer with a brave smile. Fake it til you make it—that’s a piece of brave!

Your action is creating a reaction. Remember, that reaction has more to do with their own insecurity and judgment than it does about anything you’re doing. Usually people who are satisfied with their own lives don’t judge so harshly. The ones who are unhappy but unwilling to acknowledge it, are the ones who feel insecure about your actions—they may never find the courage to even get to phase 1 of change.

People who judge may be brave but they have no courage. They have zero plan to change the things that might be wrong in their lives. That’s cool but don’t judge me for taking action in my own life. Definitely, don’t call me the crazy one!

We only have one ‘go around’ here on earth. It’s not a dress rehearsal. Let’s make it right. Let’s make it the best we possibly can. That means we need some f****n’ courage.

bravery and courage

Believe me, Escapees. I write this post for myself just as much as for the women who reach out to me. Just because I have made it through an eight year divorce doesn’t mean I’m ‘through’. I need my courage today to face challenges that I never expected. No. Challenges I never dreamed could happen. Yet, here I am getting ready for more changes. The thing I’ve learned is, if we sit still and let things happen, we may have greater regret than if we had gathered up the courage to face the challenge and take a risk.

I gave you the dictionary definition of courage now, here’s mine:

Courage is

facing your truth

doing what no one else is doing

not caring so much about what people think

ignoring judgments

listening to your inner voice

opening your heart

loving someone

speaking up when your opinion is different

telling your truth

calling out lies and misrepresentations

showing up

dropping your kids off at your ex’s after he’s threatened you

standing up to bullies (divorce or other)

sharing your ideas

trying something new and failing

So, are you feeling brave? How do you define courage?

Leave a comment, I LOVE ’em!

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33 Replies to “A Shot Of Courage”

  1. ***Two things you’ll need to make any major change in your life are a shot of courage and a slice of bravery.***

    This must be shaded and framed! xx

  2. Hi Lisa,

    This is terrific, so true, bringing out both the woes and the courage that those woes endow us with. I salute such persons who stand up to the adverse circumstances, who develop the courage after the tears, which wash off the fear and the threats!

    I would like to salute you once again for creating awareness and writing about your experiences to help build that much needed courage, which could lead more such distressed persons to take a decisive step.

    Thanks for sharing a well-worded post. Outstanding definition of courage! Stay blessed! xoxo

  3. Hi Lisa,

    Awesome indeed 🙂

    I ditto Balroop’s words here and salute all those who have gone through the challenges and come out strong. Nothing could be better to have overcome them.

    I know it’s all easier said than done, but when you gather the courage to take those challenges and move on with them – things begin to happen, the positive things. Loved the definition of courage, so well put across.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena, you make a great point “take those challenges and move on with them – things begin to happen, the positive things.” Exactly, true!

  4. Hmmm….I’ve been told I have a lot of courage, BUT I often feel anything but brave, which is why I really love the quote you included from M. Angelou….courage isn’t an absence of fear…it’s what we decide to do in spite of it!

    1. Yes, Shelah and I hadn’t really considered the difference between courage and brave until I read the definitions. I didn’t want to put an opposite to ‘courage’ although I’m sure some would say it’s fear. I love your definition of courage!

  5. I’ve always felt like I am a courageous person, but the bravery streaks come and go. I suppose bravery is like that. Sometimes we just have to take the plunge and push our fears aside. Glad to have found your blog as I’m dealing with the sudden end of my marriage just now…

    1. “sometimes we just have to take the plunge”—absolutely. I’m sorry to hear about your marriage ending. It’s never an easy thing even if it’s something you needed to do. I hope my blog helps you out, Jeri! Thanks for stopping over.

  6. We’re actually more courageous every day than we realize or even think we are. Courage is beautiful.

    “trying something new and failing”

    That is the best one, in my opinion. Even if we fail, we should celebrate the fact that we tried. 🙂

    Wonderful post, Lisa!

    1. You’re right Chrys! WE do many courageous things everyday. The small things count, too! Failure is a sign of strength IMHO. Thanks, Chrys!!

  7. Hi Lisa,

    What a wonderful post Lisa. I love when you said “to make any major change in your life are a shot of courage and a slice of bravery”.

    I found my courage the day I left my ex. I never thought I could do it but one day I had enough and somehow made a plan to get away. The idiot even helped me move out and when he realized it was only my stuff I was taking I was on my last load and my brother was with me so he couldn’t do anything but stand there and watch…that was 23 years ago.

    Another time is when I was going through depression. I made my mind up that it was not going to take my life and managed to get off meds and learn my triggers to stay in control of my happiness.

    I love your definition of courage…I agree with you 100%!

    Hope you’re having a great week hun! Take care.

    Cori

    1. You are a courageous woman! The actual, physical leaving is an emotional land mine. I’m glad you had your brother with you. The fact that you’ve been able to kick your meds and keep your depression under control is brave! Excellent examples of courage! Thanks, Cori.

  8. Sometimes I’m brave.
    That quote above about a shot of courage and a slice of bravery. It sounds like a song lyric, or something from Alice in Wonderland. Something fantastic. If it’s your original words, which I think it is, have that put on a bumper sticker or t-shirt or poster!

    1. Ha! Those are my words, Tamara. Thank you. A t-shirt with that slogan would be great. 🙂 You’re definitely a brave woman! I can’t imagine doing the photography shoots you’re so successful at. Arranging people including toddlers and crying babies? Brave!

  9. I think for me right now courage is accepting that I don’t want to be in a relationship. The last one I was in took huge chunks of my free-time and then when it was over, I spent the next two years working ridiculous hours (not by choice). Right now I’m so busy savoring the free time I have to do what matters to me, I don’t want to share it.

    Always in the past I would worry about future regrets, as in if I don’t meet someone now, I may be old and lonely later. Now I’m using my courage to focus on being happy now instead of borrowing tomorrow’s troubles.

  10. obviously I’m not a woman but it takes courage to look after a girlfriend who caught double pneumonia before Christmas which lasted 4 months and looking after the house and the pets. Not all males are scum!

    1. Well, not all of them. Just kidding, of course they aren’t. You are courageous and a good person to take care of someone else like that!

  11. I love everything, everything about this post. So much, Lisa. Not only do you have a way with words, but you really get right in the feels 🙂 Thank you.

    This line in particular will live with me today: “She has it worse than me. That’s what we tell ourselves to accept our life the way it is, even if we’re deeply unhappy.”

    It’s serendipitous (I hope I’m using that word correctly) that you say this, because just this past week I heard from a very dear and close friend about how she’s in the midst of a trial separation from her husband. I never saw it coming, and though my heart broke in a million pieces for her, I felt ashamed that my first reaction was “She must have it a lot worse than I do/even thought.” Isn’t that horrible? I dunno where that idea came from and I hated that my heart spoke those words to me.

    I guess in some ways we’re all fighting our own battles… and many of us wear a brave face but lack the courage to make those life-altering changes.

    1. Thank you so much, Charlotte. It is rewarding to know when my writing resonates with my reader 🙂 I think it’s human nature to compare someone else’s situation to our own which inevitably leads to that thought process. It’s not a terrible thing. It’s only terrible when their misfortune makes us feel good, right? You never know what may trigger that courage to assert itself in you! Like Tolkien says 🙂

  12. This is a lovely post Lisa. I am not that brave. But when facing a difficult situation I have the courage to do whatever it takes.
    Be brave only does not help us much. But courage is a great strengh. And yes it takes a lot of courage to leave, to start again, to trust again, to rebuild a life (from stratch), to believe in love again, to love ourselves.
    But when I read this line “dropping your kids off at your ex’s after he’s threatened you” – This is both courage and bravery. Cause it’s one of the hardest thing I had to deal with in this lifetime.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas in such a nice way. Take care Lisa.

    1. Yes, yes and yes to all of your examples, Marie. I think one of the hardest things is being brave enough to put ourselves first. Sounds like you have lots of courage, Marie!

  13. Beautiful post, Lisa. I have been through some doozies in my life and finding the courage to rid myself of them was very difficult, however eventually I did it. My biggest issue is, I give people too many chances. I’ve been learning over the years, but it’s still a hard thing to do, depending on the circumstances.

    Passing this one along.

    1. Giving people too many chances is something I’ve learned not to do (the hard way). I love that Maya Angeleou also says “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” You found your courage when you needed it and that’s how we build bravery. Keep on shining, Bren!

  14. Lisa, I love this post!! You are both courage and bravery wrapped up in one. I admire that about you in so many ways.

    I do my best–today I feel quite courageous. Next Tuesday, I will shield myself with bravery. Next Tuesday, I will likely feel afraid.

    And… I think it’s okay not to feel courageous or brave and definitely agree that you can be courageous, or carrying out a brave act, and be scared as !@#$ inside. It’s like a tide change, courage (and bravery) can ebb and flow. It’s okay to be afraid, even at the moment that you carry out your brave and courageous act to leave. *hug*

    1. Yes, you nailed it Jane. You’ll be great on Tuesday! Sometimes it isn’t about losing or winning although we fear loss, but it’s about what we learn in the process. “It’s like a tide change, courage (and bravery) can ebb and flow.” Yes, to that.

  15. Yes! It’s just like that. Laying down and letting a truck run over you because it’s already on your legs anyway…so why do anything about it. It takes so much courage to stand up and make things change. Beautiful post Lisa! (Sorry I’m late!!)

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