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Courage, according to Google, is "the ability to do something that frightens [you]."
At times, we're all confronted by things in our lives that scare us. Whether it's making the leap to leave a job, ending a bad relationship, coming out, or finding the confidence to ask someone out, courage is essential to living a full life.
But, being courageous is rarely easy, especially if no one ever taught you how to push through fear. And those looming fears (however real or irrational) mingle into the narrative we tell ourselves about life, hindering us from bravely reaching for what we most want.
Fear paralyzes us at our core.
The fear of being abandoned, alone, exiled, isolated. The fear of being trapped, stuck, unable to leave/move or end something that is harming us. The fear that we are unlovable or that no one will ever truly love us for who we are.
When we're stuck in fear, making rational and logical decisions becomes difficult (even impossible). We focus on fervently outsmarting the thing that scares us, staying safe at all costs from what we don't want that we don't make choices that actually move us toward what we really DO want.
Have you ever made a decision of fear?
Maybe you avoided asking someone out because the prospect of rejection was more than you could bear. Or, perhaps you never sent out that resume because you feared not getting the job. Or, maybe you stayed in an unhappy relationship because the idea of telling your "partner how miserable you were was just too difficult to face?
If you've done anything like these things, know that, in those moments, fear won out over love.
But just because it happened once (or even a few times) doesn't mean it's doomed to happen again.
The only way out of a life ruled by fear is by summoning the gumption to face those scary thoughts head on; to wrestle with them until a spark of hope rises in you that says: "Risks be damned! I'm going to do what's right for me."
That, my friends, is a true statement of self-love. So say it loud and proud.
To help you find YOUR hope, we asked our friend and Expert Jennifer Wilkov to share with an audience of YourTango readers just what it takes to conjure true inner courage. Watch her talk above. Her advice is spot-on!
Let Jennifer's wise words motivate you (and even kick your butt into action). Make today the day you stop letting fear rule your life. Find your courage and take the risky step needed to claim the life you want. You'll NEVER be sorry that you did.
Want to know more about speaking up? Learn more about why speaking up makes a difference and how you can master this important skill at the Speak Up Women Conference at the United Nations on March 5th, 2016. Visit SpeakUpWomen.com to register and for more information.