(Have) courage, dear heart

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As some of you may know, I have a penchant for pretty typography and watercolours… but today I do want to talk about courage and what it means to me.

‘Just say yes’ has always been a kind of personal mantra for me. To some extent, it speaks to the shy and timid me of the past who, for some reason or another, sometimes lacked the confidence and courage to really go out and do things, and achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. My experience has been that something so seemingly simple – like reminding yourself to ‘just say yes’ – can be really powerful in helping you get out of your comfort zone. And this can be for anything – meeting new friends, living in a different country, going to a party where you barely know a soul, applying for a job that seems a little out of reach… it’s all about saying ‘yes!’ to new experiences, new ideas, and new people.

I still try to remind myself to ‘just say yes’ every now and again… and to be more open-minded, and be a little more adventurous. However, one thing that I have never really thought about in relation to this little mantra until quite recently is that it’s not only important to ‘just say yes’ to new opportunities that come your way… but it is also equally, if not more important to make opportunities happen – they don’t just appear out of nowhere! Perhaps being a little older (and perhaps a teeny weeny bit wiser?) has really led me to believe that opportunities are rarely presented to us, but rather, are out there for us to pursue – and it is up to us to really change our mindset, let go of whatever it is in our present that we are unhappy, unsatisfied, or uncertain about, and actively seek new opportunities. Seek, and you shall find – right?

So to me, it’s one thing to be receptive to new opportunities, and to say yes to new opportunities when they materialise… but it’s actually another to start to take active steps and create your own opportunities. And creating new opportunities for yourself and actively pursuing something different is both a thrilling and scary experience – it is exhilarating when you are doing something new and something unknown… and all you feel is the utmost sense of freedom and adrenalin (and, depending on what it is – joy, passion, and love too), but it is also something that takes a lot of courage. Courage to cope with foreseen and unforeseen risks, courage to be able to “let go”, and courage to simply have faith that things will work out.

And I am, generally, an optimistic person – I truly do believe that things will work out in life. But the important caveat to this is that while I believe that all things will work out eventually, things may not “work out” in the way they were originally envisioned. Some things are meant to be… and other things are simply not meant to be. And it is hard to grapple with this mentality – this sense of “not knowing”. All we can do is acknowledge our fears, understand where they originate from, and do our very best to address them head-on.

What do you think? What does courage mean to you and what does it entail? 

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