15 Aug

Fear and Courage

Photo by dryhead

Photo by dry head under Creative Commons license

Fear is a powerful thing.

My eight-year-old son told me the other day that “taking a chance was scary.”

Fear prevents you from showing up, from being vulnerable, from taking a risk, and being who you are. Fear can protect you in times of crisis, but often times we conflate emotional discomfort into danger, and this is where we get ourselves into trouble.

Fear holds me back from making this post, from truly answering myself when I ask what I really need, and from sitting in the silence. I want to be perfect and infallible. This is the message of a capitalist, patriarchal society.

Fear also gets in the way of us standing up against injustice and for what is right. We have been taught it is easier to do nothing, better to remain silent, and best for us to keep the elements of privilege and benefit that we have “earned” in order to maintain the status quo. This is why it is so hard for us–as white people, as men, as able-bodied individuals, as people with class privilege–to speak up when we are afraid. We have likely conflated emotional discomfort for crisis, and we fear losing what we have.

Much of my work has come out of my own practice of courage, and where I hope to inspire others to develop theirs. It is hard work, but the world needs us showing up as authentic collaborators and partners in justice and community care work.

My son is already pretty wise to know that vulnerability is scary, and that is when you need your courage. It took me 35 years to figure that out.

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”–Brene Brown

To see more on Brene Brown’s work on courage and vulnerability, check out here.