“Confidence is courage at ease.”
- Daniel Maher
We are in a self-confidence deficit. I work with clients that live in Victoria, and also from other areas and countries (through virtual counselling). No matter where a client lives or what they do, most share that they have low self-confidence which feeds into their depression or anxiety. Not surprisingly, the foundation of much of our work together is based on increasing their self-confidence. Although there are many tools and methods to do this work, one of my favorite ways to increase a client’s self-confidence is to help them build a courage practice.
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.”
– Winston Churchill
How is your self-confidence? How often are you courageous?
Here are some guidelines to help you build your own courage practice:
Exercise your courage muscle often
Courage is like a muscle that gains strength with practice. Commit to practice it often. This can be daily, several times a week, or weekly. Try something new, face a fear, etc, - it doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small challenge, any effort will either build or maintain the strength of your courage. Anything that you continue to practice becomes a habit.
Make a list of your fears
If you have a list of what scares you then you can begin to plan out how you will be courageous. Once you have the list organize your fears in order of importance. Which one do you think has the most impact on your mind, or hold you back the most? Which would be the second? Third?... Start with the small ones and slowly progress through them one by one. As you tackle the smaller ones you will build the confidence that you need to face the larger fears.
Analyze your biggest fear
By objectively analyzing your biggest fear you will begin the process of eliminating it. With your biggest fear in mind, write down the answers to these three questions:
1. How does this fear hold me back in life?
2. How has this fear helped me in the past? Does it still help me?
3. What would I gain by eliminating this fear?
Recognize & accept that things will go wrong
There’s no way around it – when you practice courage you run the risk that something could go wrong. Accept it when something doesn’t go quite right – this is a courage practice too! When something goes wrong, have the courage to learn from it and move on. Remember pain or stress is temporary and will pass.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.”
- Mark Twain
Commit to your decisions
Believe that you will more often experience positive outcomes which represent your virtues and self-development. The following analogy from Rollo May’s “The Courage to Create” is a good illustration of this:
“The acorn becomes an oak by means of automatic growth; no commitment is necessary. The kitten similarly becomes a cat on the basis of instinct. Nature and being are identical in creatures like them. But a man or woman becomes fully human only by his or her choices and his or her commitment to them. People attain worth and dignity by the multitude of decisions they make from day by day. These decisions require courage.”
Most of all, have fun being courageous!