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How To Regain the Courage to be You.

Personal Development Spirituality



We all have fears. Big ones, little ones, and major monster ones that can keep us from doing and being all that we are. If we could all sit down in a room together and talk about why we have the fears that we do, there would no doubt be some incredible self-discovery and ahas.

One of the biggest common fears, whether we call it a fear or not, is the fear of being wholly ourselves. This is especially true for women. We are hardwired to make those around us feel good about themselves – we do it as mothers, sisters, partners and friends. We get satisfaction out of tending to others. It’s just part of who we are.

What we are less skilled at is tending to ourselves, creating balance for ourselves and making choices that are in our own best interests.


Like all human beings, we come to be the way we are for what we perceive as valid reasons. Perhaps when we were very little we wanted to do something such as sit and play with our stuffed animals rather than go to our friends house that day. But, we’d been invited, our parent took us, and we saw how happy our friend was when she saw us. And her joy overrode that thing inside of us which said “but I really just want to be by myself today.”

This may be a rather silly random example. Except it’s not. If you review your life in your mind you will no doubt come across countless examples of having to do something you truly did not want to do.

And yes, part of that is just a fact of life such as wanting to make money so you get up and go to your job every day whether you want to or not.

Things that keep us from giving to ourselves

And somehow in doing that so much without thinking about it we lose sight of the fact that we need to take care to be ourselves even in the midst of all those “have tos” and other obligations. In addition to that, society as a whole does not often support individualism and creativity either. Here are a few of the ways the structure of society makes it hard for us to have the courage to be ourselves:

  • traditional roles and stereotypes
  • great pressure to maintain status quo
  • training (as in school) to obey and conform
  • the idea that doing what you need is selfish and selfish is bad
  • learning to do as we’re told from an early age

When you put together our own internal structure of wanting to please others with the strong external pressure from society and those around us to not make any waves, it’s no wonder that as women we often lose touch with who we really are - to the point where we don’t even know ourselves anymore.

But the good news is that no matter how much of yourself you’ve lost over the years, you can regain yourself and even build the courage to be who you are so you never lose yourself again.

At first it can be frighteningly painful to honor yourself in the face of someone else’s desire or cultural bounds that keep you locked in. That’s where courage comes in.

According to Psychology Today there are:

The 6 attributes to courage

  1. Feeling fear and still choosing to act
  2. Following your heart
  3. Persevering in the face of adversity
  4. Standing up for what you know is right
  5. Expanding yourself, letting go of familiar
  6. Facing suffering with dignity

With that in mind if you have a desire to gain more of yourself and all that beauty that is the real you back, we offer you this IVI ORGANIC series of 3 articles designed to walk you through reclaiming the parts of yourself you may have lost.

We will start gently, with an easy to do activity which will only take you a few minutes. Grab a piece of paper and jot down at least 3 things that you know affect your ability to be yourself and how those things . Examples might be:

  • Habit
  • Rules
  • Emotions
  • Culture
  • Gender
  • Expectations

Often we start doing something for one reason and over time it just becomes the way we do it. Pick one of the areas from your list of 3 or more things which you know have affected your ability to be true to yourself, write 1 thing that is very specific which you’d like to change.

For instance:

“I have the habit of saying yes to meeting my friend Y every time she calls even though all she does is complain and I get nothing positive out of the friendship. I spend the whole time wishing I’d stayed home to read that great book I started.”

Once you are honest with yourself and conscious with what you are doing then at the very least next time your friend Y calls you will be completely aware. At that point you have a choice – to say yes or no to meeting her. What you do is up to you, of course, and being aware is more than half the battle. And as we talked about earlier saying no to Y the first time will be very difficult – and will most likely create some level of fear in you.

Here’s what to tell yourself – you know how you feel every time you say yes and go meet Y. You need to say no just one time to know how that feels. You can always go back to saying yes the next time if you want to.

The point is, it took you a long time to create the layers of habits and rules you live by that have played their part in chipping away at you. So give yourself the space and permission to step by step reclaim yourself.

That’s the very least you deserve for yourself, isn’t it?

Stayed tuned for Part 2 in our series How to Regain the Courage to be You.

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more like it read our earlier article “Take Back Your Pieces and Embrace Your Real Beauty.”

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