Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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The Courage to Show up

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

Brene Brown

 

Have you ever been avoiding something, and then felt the burden lift when you actually address it? Turns out that avoidance creates a whole lot of anxiety, that is often more cumbersome than the task, conflict or situation itself. Wouldn’t it be nice to face these things fearlessly as they arise? Sounds like a whole lotta peace to me. This is what we practice in mindfulness: strengthening our ability to stay present, first with what arises in ourselves… thoughts, feelings, sensations, and then in the world.

 

Turns out that humans are experts at avoidance and denial. We understandably veer away from what is painful or not pleasing. However, sooner or later if we repeatedly avoid something, it tends to rear it’s ugly head at the most inconvenient time! Also, it takes away from the quality of our lives if we are only half here… However, we know that our brains trick us into believing we are in real danger, when the only danger might be a threat to our self esteem, our ego, or sometimes there’s no threat at all.

 

Take for example if you have been avoiding a certain meeting, or a conversation that will not be comfortable. The physical and emotional energy that it takes to avoid, and the anxiety that it creates every time the thoughts “Yikes, I hate that” or “I have to do that” plummet through your head, takes a toll on our health and our life.

 

A more severe example would be those folks who suffer with post-traumatic anxiety as the result of a car accident and avoid that stretch of road…. understandable, but a huge inconvenience. Turns out that if you slowly and carefully approach instead of avoid, we build courage, strength and resilience. It’s never as bad as you think it will be, but even if it is you will survive.

 

How about you? What are you currently avoiding, and where do you need to show up? You already know what it is.  Is it in a relationship by listening and being present? A difficult conversation? A task that is inevitable? A health issue you’ve been in denial about? Or is it that cluttered corner that needs some cleaning?

Take responsibility, smile, breathe, approach carefully, and take a chance to show up.  Know that the short-term anxiety is FAR less than the long-term anxiety of avoidance. It’s the people that show up that get to run the world. Good luck!

 

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