I was listening to Julia Louis Dreyfus on her podcast Wiser Than Me and her guest, chef and food writer, Ruth Reichl said something that hit me. She said, “The best advice I have to give anyone. It’s the things that frighten you. Those are the things that you have to do. When something really scares you, you know, you have to do it.”
And that got me thinking about courage. In David Whyte’s book Consolations he writes about courage, “The French philosopher Camus used to tell himself quietly to live to the point of tears, not as a call for maudlin sentimentality, but as an invitation to the deep privilege of belonging, and the way belonging affects us, shapes and breaks our heart at a fundamental level. It is a fundamental dynamic of human incarnation to be moved by what we feel, as if surprised by the actuality and privilege of love and affection and its possible loss. Courage is what love looks like when tested by the simple everyday necessities of being alive.”
The people we love, the work we adore. It takes courage to embrace them. To take a chance on something that’s not guaranteed. Courage to realize it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
I just finished reading a book by Albert Camus called The Stranger. He writes, “I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn’t.”
And do we have the courage to step away from what doesn’t interest us? No matter what society tells us we should be doing? Do we have the courage to become what we were meant to be? Using the perspective that only we have based on our experiences and our DNA?
As essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Do we have the courage to be ourselves? Can we do the hard things? I think we can.