It takes courage to show up.
Are you living your life as a participant or a bystander? Many of us are standing back and watching our lives go by. Any of us who live on autopilot are doing just that. For much of my life, I lived without giving much thought to what I did. I just wanted to get things done, be successful, appear to be in control, but because I was just letting it happen, I was actually out of control.
And then I decided I needed and wanted to be a participant in my life. I am learning how to show up for myself and for others.
Having the courage to show up, for me, has meant lots of changes. But in particular, it looks like three things:
1. Being attentive
2. Being present
3. Being brave.
When I lived on autopilot, I was able to tune out all sorts of voices and actions. I just went through the motions of living the life of a wife, a mom, a friend, daughter and successful professional.
Unfortunately, I also missed out on really connecting with people. The word “attentive” comes from the root “attend”. In my life, to attend my life means I have been learning to be available- to myself, to my kids, to my wife, to my colleagues, to my friends – as a listener, a non-judgemental support. It has meant learning to hold space for others to attend to their lives and to stop trying to fix everything. I have learned that people are very capable of taking care of their own lives and I am a much better friend, able to be a witness without stepping in.
While it has been very important to learn to be a witness to others’ pain, being present has been a lesson in being more than just an observer in my own life and the lives of those I love. Being present means being an active participant in my life, accepting that life is not simply happening to me, but welcoming the invitation life gives me to actively shape the course of my life. Being present allows me to savour the beauty of this life, both the parts that feel good and the parts that are painful.
The last part of showing up, for me, is being brave. Truly, being brave is the most important part of showing up for my life. It is the reason for this 45 day journey we have been on together. But what does it look like?
Being brave has looked like fighting for my marriage instead of walking away from it. It means having those conversations that feel really uncomfortable. Being brave means taking control of my health, both my physical health and my mental health, rather than ignoring it.
Being brave means telling the truth about who I am, what matters to me, how I feel and what I believe. It also means knowing that I am doing the best I can do right now, while committing to my own growth and learning. It means putting myself out there and being willing to accept both praise and criticism.
I hope this journey of 45 Days of Courage has helped you find the courage to show up for your life. I don’t know what that looks like for you but I thank each of you for your support as I have sought the courage to show up for my life.