Psychology

The Best Kind of Courage We Can Get

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Written by Julia Kristina Mah

I’m not just sure if it was our parents, our siblings, society, the media, or that cheeky little kid in the schoolyard   who told us we need to be someone we’re not in order to be accepted, good enough, valuable, and worthwhile human beings. Wherever it came from, though, it’s not nice. And how it has translated in to adulthood is by cultivating a mindset in many of us that makes us believe we need to be perfect, beyond reproach, always on top of our game, and never show any signs of personal limitations, weakness, vulnerabilities or boundaries, and never have any real problems of our own. Now THAT does not seem right.

the_best_kind_of_courage_we_can_getI think you would be surprised by how many people actually believe this to be true. People who feel awful, horrible, or worthless if they, heaven forbid it, ever make a mistake, or worse yet, encounter any setbacks or failures. People who, if they accidentally show any sign of sadness or fear, feel it necessary to apologize profusely or give some big explanation as to why they showed any signs of actually being human.

I just can’t figure this one out. Who told us we need to be perfect, the best, and have it all together all the time? And whoever it was, how come they have the authority to make us buy in to it all and believe these things without question? It’s a stumper.

So what I propose is instead of trying harder to be perfect, flawless, amazing, and beyond human supermen and women, we work harder on being courageous. But I so have to add here, this type of courage can be really, really hard to find and we might have to dig extra deep inside us and clear away a lot, I mean A LOT of muck, to uncover this specific courage. The good news is it’s already there in all of us.

This particular type of courage is about finding and embracing the courage to be imperfect. The courage to say I am emotional, deep, feeling, apt to fail, prone to make mistakes, sometimes accidentally saying things I don’t mean, and not always knowing how to make everyone happy. AND I may not always feel like being the hardest worker in the office, the most admired super mom or dad, or the most intelligent, remarkable, interesting person. And guess what??? THAT’S OKAY!

I’m not offering this as Carte Blanche to become lazy, unmotivated, and uncaring ““ because goodness knows that’s not going to bring us any sense of satisfaction, joy, peace, and fulfillment either.

However, I am saying this so that we can learn to let ourselves be human. To be ourselves. To get over the lie that I need to be something I’m not in order to be worthy of love, life, and happiness. To allow ourselves to sometimes just allow ourselves to say “Oops! Oh well. That wasn’t ideal, but I am, in fact human and am not perfect.” without then punishing ourselves with 7 years of harsh self-criticism and a truck load of emotional beratement.

It may be a challenge and it may take a lot of courage, but it’s in there, and I know we can do it.

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About the author

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Julia Kristina Mah

Julia holds a Master's Degree in Counselling Psychology, and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who runs a vibrant private practice in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. She has been helping men and women feel better and notice positive and healthy changes in their lives for several years and absolutely loves what she does and is grateful to be doing this work. Following closely behind her passion for clinical counselling is her fondness of facilitating workshops and giving group presentations. Julia also really enjoys writing about what she is researching, learning, and experiencing as a therapist and aims to do so in an approachable and somewhat light-hearted, yet thoughtful manner. Read more from Julia on her blog