Quiet Courage


by Tracey McBeath

Quiet Courage

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen” – Brené Brown

Quiet Courage. The word courage gets thrown around a lot, would you agree? But what does it actually mean? The word comes from the Latin word ‘cor’ which means heart. So, courage basically means doing what is in your heart. 

There is loud and obvious forms of courage like skydiving or bungy jumping. But there’s also another form, a quieter form, which you need access to each day to live out your values. It’s often invisible to others. But it’s not to you. You know you’re using it when you are.

No one else even needs to know. It’s just for you.

What are values?

The discovery of values has certainly been a gift to me. My values are what allows me to say with confidence that I am living a life true to myself. They gift me with the ability to truly see in any moment that I get to decide how I show up to each day of my life.

Values are also the qualities I bring to how I treat myself, others, and the world around me.

If courage means heart, what lives in your heart? This is where your values live.

Many people often confuse values with goals, but they are not goals. We can still have goals but they’re not values. Values are the qualities you bring to your life, how you treat yourself, others, and the world around you. They are what you align your behaviour too while you’re working towards your goals.  Like a compass, they keep you steadfast no matter what is going on around you in your world.

How do you discover your values?

Often, my clients struggle with this in the beginning. It’s so easy to get caught up on the treadmill of life, doing what we do without questioning whether it’s aligning with our heart or not. We feel a sense of unease when this happens, and we don’t know how to fix it. We’ve created our habits and routines, and we continue to do them with out question… even if we start to notice the disconnect.

Discovering your values is an enriching process, and it may not be easy. Especially if you see you need to make changes to the choices you’re making in your life.

The first step to finding yours is to slow down. To step off that treadmill of life for a moment and spend some time in honest reflection.

Then ask yourself this question.

How would you like people to describe you to others?

If you can be honest, you will know the answers to this question. These are your values.

Quiet courage is needed to live aligned to your values.

Quiet courage. What it takes to align your actions with your heart.

Commitment to living your values rather than being pushed in all directions by the opinions, wishes and demands of others or the cravings of our habitual mind, is an act of quiet courage.

We are all getting older, and time is passing. That we have no choice in. But we do have a say over the direction we take in our life. Do we choose to guide our life according to what other people desire or us? Do we choose to guide our life according to our own short-term impulses?

Well, we can do that if we wish.

Or we can choose to guide our life based on our most deeply held values that align with our heart.

Life will naturally create sadness. Your job is to create joy.

If we seek success in life, we risk failure. If we seek connection with others, we risk rejection and disappointment. If we love someone, we risk losing them. Even joyful moments have their sorrow because we know that every joyful moment must pass.

There’s no shelter from the natural pain of life. We’ve all sought shelter by hiding and keeping ourselves small, or by not commitments. By numbing or escaping our mind and body through food and drinking. To escape the natural pain of life in any way we saw we could.

But this never works in the long term.

It just makes us feel sadness and regret because we’ve wasted our time and hurt ourselves (and maybe others) in the process. We can’t change the past, but today and every day moving forward is in our hands.

“We are not what has happened to us, we are what we choose to become.” C Jung.

To live well, we do need quiet courage and be in alignment with our heart. We need to practice saying yes to the risk in the service of the things we care most about. And saying no to the things we take to numb or escape our daily lives. 

All of which gets easier when we listen to what deeply lives within our heart.

Bonnie Ware in her book, “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” states that the number one regret of the dying is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

I believe this is what we risk if we don’t step off that treadmill and realign our choices with our values.

It takes tremendous courage to live a life aligned with your values.

But trust that you have this within you.

All of us do. And your heart is calling for you to listen to it.

Because if not now, then when?


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Living aligned with your values!

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