The Courage To Change

by Jill L. Hamilton

   Have you ever been faced with danger, fear or difficulty? Sure you have. In fact, we all begin into those phases of life right about the time we begin to walk. Most of us don't remember that day. So with that thought in mind, could it be that somewhere along the line we didn't learn how to appropriately handle danger, fear or difficulties we encounter throughout our lives? Also in order to learn and grow, we all know there are valleys to walk through. If there were nothing but peaks, how would we ever learn, change or grow at all? You may ask yourself, "What keeps me from making the changes in my life to make it better, or what I want it to be?" Or if you're simply not happy, read on.
   Most of us have a desire to make positive changes in our lives but many times lack that one characteristic to get us started; courage. The very first step in finding courage to change anything is recognizing that some of our learned behaviors are not necessarily any fault of our own. But putting the blame on someone else isn't the answer. Many of us often find solace in blaming others for our own shortcomings when all that truly provides us with is nothing more than another excuse NOT to change. What matters is taking responsibility for the way things are and making a decision to change. It could be a bad habit, behavior or simply overcoming a bad choice. It is about recognizing that something needs to change and being willing to make it happen.
   Are you trying to decide if you want to take on a dangerous journey? Do you have a fear of failing? Is it difficult to push yourself over the edge to make a decision that is long overdue? Today it can happen. You've already made the decision to make the change, but how do you find the courage, let alone the strength to make it happen? The answer is simple. You just put one foot in front of the other and do it.
   As a single parent of an adult child who is now twenty-one years of age, I remember the day my husband informed me he was leaving us. He said, "What are you going to do?" Rather than answer him and fighting off the tears welling up in my eyes, I took a walk up the stairs to my daughter's bedroom. She had heard what was discussed. I reached the top of the stairs only to meet up with her in the hallway. She looked at me with her beautiful blue eyes and asked, "Mom, what are we going do?" I swallowed my tears, looked straight into those eyes and said, "We will be just fine." Although at that moment I was suffering tremendous heartbreak, I took a deep breath, stood up straight, and said exactly what I knew my daughter needed to hear. In that moment, I had made a choice that we were going to be fine. The first step requires a decision to do whatever it takes to show it. Most of the time, it also requires having a little faith in the unknown.
   Then the work began. Months of work, paperwork, lawyers and adjustments, I marched right through it as if my life was going to be better. The one thing that separates those from truly having the courage to do something from those who don't is the attitude they take with them while they are in the process. To find the courage to accomplish anything, you must have a positive outlook.
   Okay so you make a decision and portray the proper attitude even though your gut is saying, "Eek! Can I really do this?" The fear sets in. The meaning of fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. You can overcome anything in life that is put before you. Fear is nothing more than an emotion we learn to give us a basic understanding of what not to do�such as touching a hot iron. However, often many of us get so caught up with fears that we actually let it rob us of all that is ahead in our lives. Fear often overcomes our better judgment, leads to self-doubt and prevents us from changing. Face the fear and walk right through it. In fact, repeat that last sentence to yourself over and over if you have to while you are walking through your fears.
   Nothing we do in life that is worthwhile comes easy. Sometimes it does look greener on the other side until you get there. But even in the worst of situations, courage can help you overcome danger, fear and many difficulties. The difference between those who achieve what they want and need in life and those who don't, is courage. It takes hard work and dedication. It takes focus. It takes immediate action. Most importantly, it takes desire. If the desire is greater than the fear, anything is possible. So regardless of how strong the fear is, make up your mind to push through it.
   In summary, courage is the choice to make a positive change in yourself, standing up and telling whoever will listen that you are going to make the change, putting one foot in front of the other, taking the action necessary and overcome all associated fears by having a good attitude along the way. But also remember the importance of persevering when you begin to doubt yourself. Do whatever it takes! I challenge each person who reads this article to think of the one area in your life you wish to change. Have you thought of it? What are you waiting for? Go for it!