3 Ways Courage Is The Foundation For Every Strong Relationship


A series on the principles and skills needed for creating more love, happiness and success in life

In previous articles about 5 Principles that are the foundation for Successful Communication and what it takes to be a great communicator whether we are talking personally or professionally.

We know that being able to positively and effectively communicate with others will determine the quality and success of our lives, relationships, overall well being, happiness and fulfillment.

“According to numerous surveys, approximately 85% percent of our success in life is directly attributable to our communication and relationship building skills. That means that no matter how ambitious someone is or how much they overcome their fears or how high their level of education, they'll still have a low probability of going far in life without effective communication skills that are needed to really connect with people,” Jonathan-Advanced Life Skills

We have looked at the value and importance of CONSCIOUSNESS, COMPASSION, CURIOSITY, COMMITMENT and now we are going to look at how you need COURAGE  to create successful relationships.

The Latin root of the word courage is "cor" meaning heart and it is true that courage takes heart.

Noun: The ability to do something that frightens one.
Strength in the face of pain or grief.
Synonyms: bravery - valour - valor - pluck - gallantry - nerve.


Suffice to say that relationships need a lot of courage because to be in a healthy relationship one needs to be vulnerable, which of course is the proverbial double edged sword or catch 22, because to be vulnerable means to be open to hurt and pain.

So if you have to be vulnerable to have a healthy working relationship it will definitely take a lot of courage to come from that open vulnerable place. In fact more so than a lot of other opportunities to be courageous.

When our hearts or reputation or ego's are involved it takes monumental courage to face ones fear of potential abandonment, criticism, feeling rejected or my own feeling unlovable

BRENE BROWN says: Vulnerability is scary. But it's also a powerful and authentic way to live. Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences. She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.”

Think about the vulnerability it takes to love someone—whether it's your parents, siblings, spouse or close friends. Love is filled with uncertainties and risks. As Brown notes, the person you love might or might not love you back. They might be in your life for a long time or they might not. They might be terrifically loyal or they might stab you in the back.

Think about the vulnerability it takes to share your ideas with the world, not knowing how your work will be perceived. You might be appreciated, laughed at or downright skewered. Vulnerability is hard.

But what can make it even harder—needlessly so—are the inaccurate assumptions we hold about it, like vulnerability is being weak, some of us don't experience vulnerability or that to be vulnerable you must spill all your secrets.

Vulnerability embraces boundaries and trust, she says. “Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.

Being vulnerable takes courage. But it's worth it. It's worth it to be ourselves, to connect to others” Brene Brown Article on VULNERABILITY and her famous TED TALK It takes courage to be vulnerable professionally as well as  personally, and again is about living committed to authenticity.


People-pleasing is a strategy to meet a need and can go two ways: pleasing others out of fear of rejection if you don't or pleasing others to feel important.

It's a lovely quality to want to please someone you care about, but some people don't think they have a choice and saying "no" causes them anxiety and fear.. This can be called co-dependent behavior however is not a behavior that only co-dependent people engage in.

Some people, co-dependent or not have a hard time saying “No” to anyone. They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.

Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others and divides up what is your responsibility and what is someone else's responsibility, and that applies not only to your body, money, and belongings, but also to your feelings, thoughts and needs. That's where a lot of people, especially co-dependents get into trouble by having blurry or weak boundaries.

They feel responsible for other people's feelings and problems or blame their own feelings on others. It takes a lot of courage to set a clear boundary and then follow through in the face of the fear of potential consequences and equally some people have rigid boundaries, are closed off and withdrawn, making it hard for other people to get close to them.


At this point we must talk a little about co-dependence and what that means. Co-dependency, by definition, means making the relationship more important to you than you are to yourself. It means you're trying to make the relationship work with someone who's not.

People with co-dependent tendencies give more value to others than to themselves and compromise their own needs for the sake of others. The term co-dependency has been around for almost four decades.

Although it originally applied to spouses of alcoholics, first called co-alcoholics, researchers revealed that the characteristics of co-dependents were much more prevalent in the general population than had been imagined and we all can have some of the characteristics of being co-dependent.

Living this way creates stress and leads to painful emotions such as shame and low self-esteem which creates anxiety and fear about being judged, rejected or abandoned; making mistakes; being a failure; feeling trapped by being close or being alone.

The other symptoms then lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings get to be too much, people can feel numb by dissociating from the feelings.

Learning to speak up in the face of the fear of the consequences takes a lot of COURAGE but it is possible with some effort and commitment on your part to be aware of what and where your fears stem from.

Co-dependents and lets be truthful, a lot of people not just people who have co-dependent tendencies, have trouble when it comes to communicating their thoughts, feelings and needs to important people in their life.

None of us can communicate anything if you don't know what you think, feel or need and you can't speak your truth if you are afraid of what reaction you will get. The other person ends up with a lot of power in the relationship when you are afraid to speak up for yourself and creates a power imbalance.

If you are afraid to be truthful because you don't want to upset someone else, you might pretend that everything is okay which compromises yourself and communication becomes dishonest, confusing and can carry resentment which is exceedingly harmful to any relationship.

Dr. Phil McGraw says “A relationship is only as good as both people getting their needs met” It doesn't mean that one does and the other is afraid of the consequences of speaking their truth.

It takes COURAGE to learn to be flexible, set boundaries, be vulnerable and let people in, however it is one of the essential 5 principles that will support you to create a life full of love, happiness and success

To learn more about Successful Communication and how it can increase LOVE, HAPPINESS & SUCCESS in your life CLICK HERE.

This article was originally published at Mheyah Bailey @ Connection Point Centre. Reprinted with permission from the author.