We mentioned in our last post that we consider that there are six core conditions that our soul requires to flourish, we sometimes refer to them as ‘soul needs’. They are:
Personal honour, courage, hospitality, empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence, the first three are very ancient values and were held in high regard in many cultures. The last three were identified by eminent American psychologist Carl Rogers.
As we discuss our soul needs you will notice that they overlap and that it is very difficult to have one without the others. I see them as being similar to the Olympic rings; they overlap and intertwine with each other. This week I will be discussing courage:
Courage is defined as: the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.
For me the word courage invokes images of a hero, a soldier, or a Viking warrior. However, when I think a bit more of whom my heroes are Gandhi and Nelson Mandela immediately spring to mind.
I said last week that in today's modern world the word honour is rarely heard. Therefore, I tend to think of it as self-respect. I also mentioned that in today's society low self-esteem is a western plague. People dislike and hate themselves. Thus I consider that it takes courage to develop a sense of honour and self-respect. It takes courage to challenge your own beliefs that tell you that you’re not as good as other people or that you’re more evil than others or more stupid, well you get the idea.
In my opinion it takes even more courage to stand up to well meaning people such as friends, family, priests, gurus, rabbis, and mentors who want to tell you who you are, who you should marry and how you should live your life. In this vain it takes even more courage to let go of people that although you love them you know that they are holding you back from living your life your way.
We need courage to give ourselves permission to make our own mistakes, to forgive ourselves and to be our true authentic self. To say to the world, “this is who I am warts and all, take me as I am or leave me”, this lead to the simple truth that we are no better and no worse than anyone else.