A couple of weeks ago I had 12 inches cut off of my hair. I didn’t think much about it because it is just hair after all. But I’ve had several people describe my decision to cut my hair as courageous. Courageous? What? Apparently most women so identify themselves with their hair style that they feel it takes courage to make a change in that style.
When I typically think of courage I tend to think of the courage our men and women of the armed services demonstrate through their willingness to protect us. I think of people fighting serious or even life-threatening illnesses and overcoming tragedy. If you asked me if I think of myself as courageous, I would most likely say, no. After all, I don’t think of a haircut as demonstrating a level of courage to be envied.
Since those comments about my hair, I have spent some time thinking about all of the not so obvious ways people demonstrate and embody courage. Quite honestly, all change, regardless of the severity or extremeness of the change requires courage. It could be as simple as a haircut or as drastic as moving to a new city. Do you think people who change jobs or careers are courageous? I certainly do. Realizing you are stuck in a rut of some sort and deciding to change whatever needs to be changed to get out of it certainly demonstrates a level of courage to be envied in my book.
What are some other ways that women demonstrate courage? I think any time we step out of our comfort zone takes courage. If you are the type of person who prefers not to be alone, doing something by yourself takes courage. It could be going to a restaurant to eat by yourself, attending a networking event, or going to a movie by yourself.
I struggle with my self-esteem on a regular basis and I remember the first time I mustered enough courage to go eat in a restaurant by myself back in college. It was one of the most liberating things I had done to that point in my life. It is amazing how good a little courage can feel.
There are other ways to courageously step out of your comfort zone. If you are a little more serious and conservative, finding ways to be more playful and spontaneous definitely takes courage. If you usually are very quiet at meetings or gatherings, speaking up takes courage. Choosing to be visible takes courage. Trying something new takes courage. Even joining an exercise class or taking personal development classes takes courage. Sometimes, just putting on a pair of shorts takes courage!
Another way that we demonstrate courage is by saying “yes” as well as saying “no”. Saying “yes” to new opportunities and saying “no” to things that don’t serve us both require courage. Did you accept a new client today? Deciding to work with someone new takes courage. Deciding not to work with someone new because they aren’t in alignment with what you are trying to accomplish also takes courage – especially when you are trying to make ends meet. Saying “no” to your child takes courage – especially when they are trying to wear you down in order to get their way.
My guess is that on average, most of us don’t consider ourselves to be courageous. I’m here to tell you, that I bet you do courageous things every day without even noticing. Do a favor for me, if you journal or practice gratitude daily, start thinking about ways you demonstrated courage that day. I’m pretty sure you will end up being surprised at just how courageous you are.
If asked now about describing myself as being courageous, I will answer with a resounding, yes. I am courageous, and not just because I got a haircut. Now that I’m paying attention, I notice that I act courageously a lot more often than I ever thought.
How have you been courageous today?