Courage is a partner of Honesty; and Honesty means more than simply telling the truth. It involves Honesty in all areas of one’s life and the ability to be true to oneself and one’s role in all circumstances and that takes Courage. Though perhaps one would not immediately associate Honesty with Courage, there are obvious situations in life where to be Honest requires a great deal of Power in the midst of fear.
Ernest Hemingway defined courage as “grace under pressure.” Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without Courage we can't practice any other virtue consistently. We can practice nothing consistently without Courage. Winston Churchill said that Courage is the quality that guarantees all other qualities.
There is great Courage involved in facing our addictive habits, irrational anxieties, and harmful dependent relationships. Acting against our fears takes Courage. The ability to face down imaginary fears and find the Higher Power within that we've denied ourselves can be terrifying. We are told that, Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the choice that something is more important than fear. Giving into fear actually has the effect of strengthening fear.
Look at what we do in Step Four, we find a place where we can be alone with pen and paper (or computer and keyboard). We write our inventories, and face up to what it's telling us, no matter how difficult it is to see. We acknowledge things we've been afraid to face. It is important for us to get that real courage is a mental skill, not an emotional one.
The exact process we use to build Courage isn't important. What's important is that we consciously do it. If we aren't regularly exercising Courage, then we are strengthening our fear by default; fear is not our enemy. It is a compass pointing us to the areas where we need to grow. So when we encounter a new fear within ourselves, celebrate it as an opportunity for growth.
Whatever we do, we need Courage. Whatever course we decide upon, there is always someone to tell us that we are wrong. Courage will permit us to lead a far more fulfilling and meaningful life. We will begin living far more consciously than we ever have before. Whether we assume conscious control over our life or merely react to events as they happen to us, we hold each other up during the process. If we continue following the path of Courage, we will ultimately be forced to confront what is perhaps the greatest fear of all - that we are far more powerful and capable than we ever realized. Also that our ultimate potential, as individuals is far greater than anything we've experienced in our past, and that in finding this Higher Power comes great responsibility.
The only thing stopping each of us is fear, and the only thing that will get us past it is Courage. Living consciously is not an easy path, it requires Courage. It is fear itself that we are facing. If we keep exercising Courage, we will eventually come to the point where we openly accept the responsibility of life and be awakened in the Twelfth Step. Even though we will still experience fear, we will recognize it for the illusion it is, and we will know how to use Courage to face it down.
This is a program of action. Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and Courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. - Dale Carnegie
Want to learn more about Jamie, check out his website at www.hpretreats.com