“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”
I tried to hide something from a loved one this weekend. For the second time. And the the hard thing about this is not just the hurt I caused or the trust I broke, but also something they said, afterward. Something I am sorry to admit I have heard before:
“You talk so much about honesty and transparency and here you are, doing the opposite.”
And the thing that hurts so badly about this is that I BELIEVE what I say and write about honesty and transparency, and falling so horrifically short of the practices and I am constantly, constantly trying to encourage others to adopt makes me feel like the worst possible failure. Especially when it causes pain. Especially when it damages trust.
And so today I spent some time looking over what has led to this behavior, and I realize it all comes down to fear. I lie because I am afraid. Afraid people will judge me, afraid people won’t like me, afraid people will be angry.
Brene Brown, a leading researcher on the subjects of shame and bravery, says we develop courage when we choose to be vulnerable. She says that if we are brave with our lives, we are guaranteed to “fall, fail, and get our asses kicked.” And this is SO HARD. We’ve all experienced so much pain and suffering and trauma; we’ve all experienced SO MUCH REJECTION. But I am still convinced, despite my failure to live up to my own convictions, that truth is the most important thing we can offer the world.
So, in the words of Brene Brown:
Today, I will choose courage over comfort. I can’t make any promises for tomorrow, but today I will choose to be brave.