What is courage mean to me?

I had fear towards revealing my true self. That’s why I become very well with pretending my true self. For many years, I struggled with unconsolidated character/personality. More I pretend, more I become confused with myself. I was pretending to protect my vulnerable self. I needed to summon up courage to reveal my vulnerability to others, to express my true self.

For many years, being vulnerable meant showing my weakness to others. However, I have realised that this is not entirely true. Showing vulnerability of self requires a strong heart within oneself. Only those who are able to stand strong on the ground and certain about oneself can do so.

What may look like a small act of courage is courage nevertheless.

The important thing is to be willing to take a step forward.

Daisaku Ikeda

Another perspective related to courage for me is to try unknown. It takes a lot of energy for me to try new things. To avoid this, I preferred to follow old steps, even though it may be complicated, rather than simplified new steps. When I summon up my courage to try a bit of new things and able to adapt it into my daily life, I can never go back to old steps though.

To build my confidence in trying unknown, a strategy my supervisor implied with me was to take baby steps. In particular, if she knew I am trying something for the first time, She would provide step by step detailed instruction.

Let me give you an example.
Very early in my research journey, I didn’t know how to send an email to my associate supervisor. What if I didn’t understand my associate supervisor? What if my associate supervisor didn’t understand me? What if I didn’t get the instruction given my associate supervisor? I had nothing else but unreal fear. My supervisor offered to proofread my emails to my associate supervisor. When she felt that I am capable of sending an email to my associate supervisor, she told me ‘just send it!’ then I had to summon up my courage to send it. More I write and send emails to others, I get more comfortable with it. To be honest, I was quite surprised when I discovered others understand me too.

Let me share a recent experience I had.
Years ago, I was attending a brainstorming meeting with my supervisor. As usual practice, we had to go around the table introducing ourselves. I didn’t know what to say, as I was most junior person at the table. I remember after the meeting we were having a debriefing and the very first thing she said “What was that self introduction? I don’t want to hear you say ‘you are no body ever again.'” Probably, I didn’t have confidence to present myself but that’s exactly how I saw myself, “I was no body”.
Few weeks ago, I was in a similar situation again where I was the most junior person in the room and I had to introduce myself. I suddenly remembered above incidence and then I reminded myself that ‘I am more than no body’. I was able to confidently introduce myself to the group.

What does courage mean to you?
What did you achieve with your courage?
Are you living a courageous life?

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