Monday, July 9, 2012

Living Courageously

I grew up in a Greek and Italian household. The Greekness, as I call it, was so prevalent in our house that I didn’t realize I was also Italian until about age ten! If you’ve ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you have a pretty good idea of what my life was like. I never felt like I fit in with the other kids at school, and my parents were very protective. As an adult, I now understand they were just trying to keep me away from danger, but I missed out on a lot of life experiences. I never had a fake ID, I never played hooky or got into any kind of major trouble, and I was a late bloomer in many ways.

Now that I’m an adult, I realize that it’s not such a scary world! I have the full capability to handle everything that comes my way. I actually embrace challenges now because I know that I’ll grow and gain tremendous value from each experience. I don’t avoid new things anymore. I am open to new experiences and when things don’t go the way I want them to, I don’t berate myself for not doing a better job. Life is much more fluid and graceful now.

I also realized that when I was playing it safe, my life was really small. I stopped putting myself out there. I stopped dating for a while, and I took time off from the working world because it felt too stressful. My world kept getting smaller. I recently went through some drama that actually shook me out of my falsely safe cocoon. I can honestly say I am grateful for the pain I went through because it pushed me into what I’m doing now, which is working at a really lovely spa with a staff of wonderful people! It’s such an amazing feeling to look back at this dramatic experience and actually feel grateful for it! Going through that drama showed me that I have a lot more courage than I thought.

I love the word courage—no, it’s not a Greek word! The root of the word, cor, means heart in Latin. Courage is taking a step towards something that scares you and doing it with all your heart. To me, living courageously simply means that you’re living life fully, and you trust that you can handle whatever comes your way. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be open to new experiences and to approach life from this empowered point of view.

This quote sums it all up:
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”     –Anais Nin

My life is definitely expanding now that I’m living more courageously. And I want to add that courage can take on many forms, including: speaking in front of a large group, expressing your true feelings to someone, making a bold career change, or learning a new skill. It’s so exhilarating!

In what ways can you see yourself living with more courage?

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