Lets get real quick to the definition of the word courage: The Cambridge dictionary defines it as the “ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation”. The Oxford dictionary as the “ability to do something that frightens one; bravery or strength in the face of pain or grief”.
But did you know the word courage has its origin somewhere completely different? Courage might even be the most powerful solution to many of your personal and professional obstacles.
I used to study philology for a semester and in one of my favorite classes we’ve been discussing the origin of languages and words. And to this date I still look at words wondering where there origin might be and start analyzing the various parts. Cour-age, cou-rage, cour… – oh wait – I didn’t enjoy learning Latin but I remembered that cor means heart and it is very similar in French and Italian. Does that mean courage has its origin in the word heart?
I started researching online and the first thing that came up, was a quote of one of my favorite authors, Brené Brown: “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences – good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as ordinary courage.”
This answered my question much faster than I expected it. Did you ever think courage means telling your truth or acting accordingly to your innate truth? I didn’t and it completely changed the way I look at courage today. Speaking our truth is a problem is many of us are facing, including me. What about you? Do you always tell your truth or do you even know your truth?
Since Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globes and her statement that she believes speaking our truth is the most powerful tool we have, following the “me-too” scandal in Hollywood, the topic around speaking up is on fire. When it is our most powerful gift, why are we so hesitant using it? Our truth is our innate belief of what is right and wrong and yet sometimes we rather give in on other people’s opinions or take on other’s opinions and speak their truth, instead of our own.
Have you ever been in the position of not agreeing with something but you did not communicate it? I have. In business meetings, in discussions with friends or family, as well as in many other arenas. I recognized this a couple of years ago and was really surprised, almost confused about myself! I was the kid who always said out loud what was on her mind. And then I started to grow up and somehow found myself adapting to believe that what I think is not always important enough to communicate it or that my opinion or question might sound ridiculous to others and that would be embarrassing. Welcome shame! Can you think of a time this happened to you?
I witness this many times around me. But it all started to once I witnessed it in my life. And I’m grateful that I had the chance to wake up and find my voice again – my courage.
Today I tell my story, my truth even when I expect the other person might not understand or appreciate what I have to say. But so often, people surprised me and eventually thanked me for telling them my story or opinion. With my seemingly trivial stories I made in impact in so many lives that I will never again stop to do so. And I wish you find your courage and do the same. You don’t know how many people need to hear what you have to say, what you experienced or your unique way of looking at the world.
It takes courage to speak our truth.
The word itself was created to express the communication of the heart, so it seems that the root of courage is within our hearts. We all have courage within us. Although some of us have lost the connection to the heart, we can hear its voice from time to time, wondering if we can trust it and if we should follow it. This first feeling you have towards a person or a situation or this weird feeling before something happens, that’s the heart, the communication center of the soul.
How can you speak your truth today? Start practicing, stay patient with your journey and it will get easier and easier – trust me, my heart told me so.