So what is courage, some of us think it means to be heroic, doing things that would require one to risk one's life. But interestingly, the origin of the word courage in Latin mean "heart". The ancient definition meant to "share ones heart". Courage then becomes a prerequisite for all of the above. So sharing our hearts means we find safe people to share our fears, needs, and feelings which in today's world is a pretty brave thing to do. But what an act of bravery and what a gift of potential connection and relationship having courage will bring.....
What about compassion, well I have always considered compassion to be very similar to empathy, non judgemental, fully present, hearing of another's heart; which it certainly is. But it is even more, Brene says it is impossible to fully have compassion unless you can dig into the depths of your own darkness, fears, failures, sufferings, and wounds. If we can acknowledge our own imperfection, our own fears and failures then we can truly sit, and be fully present with one another. When we do that, we take the power out of shame and fear which are the things we are required to walk through in order to live "wholeheartedly". Well, I agree, how can we? How can I truly understand your suffering if I refuse to acknowledge my own. We live in a blame/shame society that wants to avoid feeling or taking responsibility and owning the deeper experiences. It reminds me of the "horse" and the "rabbit" that became "real" by having their fur loved off, in the "Velveteen Rabbit".
The other side of the blame/shame game is "taking responsibility", it is much easier to rant and rave, to shame and blame, criticize, judge, resent... than it is to set a boundary out of self love and compassion, and hold another person accountable for their behavior. I can personally attest to this! It IS very hard to lovingly, and empathetically, set a boundary and be firm in the consequence with anyone we love. It is however good self care. They never like it when we do that, they sometimes try to make us pay. Well I say it's worth it on the other side. Letting those we love experience the full range of natural consequences of inappropriate or irresponsible behavior is good life teaching. When we do the other thing, ranting, raving, screaming, blaming, then WE are the ones with the problem. This becomes an issue of setting boundaries.
Setting boundaries is where the compassion starts. We become kinder and firmer. People respond.
So what about connection? We are wired for it, we don't survive without it. Without enough of it we become disordered, without any of it we die. It's true. Some people feel connected by the chattiness on face book, or texting, or email. Some people think they are connected by physical proximity. This is not true connection. This is another topic all together that concerns me today. It is much easier to NOT connect, than to connect. This type of connection, quite removed from real, is not the kind that feeds our hearts and souls and provides opportunities for wounds to heal. It is pseudo connection, safe and non-intimate. The truth is unless we are able to see each others faces, have real conversation, look in each others eyes, touch, be honest, give each other permission to fall apart, and to be imperfect together we have no real connection. We don't need a lot, but we do need some to live in this way of authenticity and wholeheartedness. I will tell you this is not the easy way. This is the way that involves much risk. What I can promise you is that this is also the way to true and meaningful connection. These are the threads of the bonds that help us get through life, the rough times, and bring much more joy to the good times.
So there you have it. Have you bought the book yet? Well these are things to ponder in your lives. Again, my prayer for you is to CHOOSE LIFE, which will ask you to take some risks.
Have a wonderful day!