August 20

COURAGE MONTH: DAY 20: “When I step out on stage in front of thousands of people, I don’t feel that I’m being brave. It can take much more courage to express true feelings to one person. […] In spite of the risks, the courage to be honest and intimate opens the way to self-discovery. It offers what we all want, the promise of love. ” ― Michael Jackson

This journey into courage is all about learning who we are. That is the greatest thing we can do. Self-discovery gives us the freedom to live the way we want to in our hearts and spirits.

This is a nice quote. From someone who was one of us in addiction. It does not matter who we are in the public eye or what we have in the material sense. We all have a heart that is longing for authenticity and the courage to be that person we are on a spirit level.

None of us is able to access this person easily. We are covered in ego and story and shame and anger and insecurity and pain. All of us. When we accept and allow this to be so, we can begin to walk into a new and more powerful place. This takes tremendous courage, because we have a social construct (made of ego!) that teaches us to hide our imperfections or be shunned because we are less than shiny and new all the time.

Geez! One of the more bizarre aspects of Mr. Jackson’s life was his need to continuously alter his appearance to make it so different than what he looked like. It is heartbreaking to watch people go to extraordinary lengths to look other than they are. Makeup, surgery, it can become so extreme. That lack of self-acceptance does not speak to me of courage. Accepting who I am without beating myself to fit a model of beauty deemed by the “popular” social construct is a challenge for most of us.

However, learning to be okay with that is the key to self-discovery and acceptance. The most courageous acts of all are those that do not conform with the opinions of others. Being able to be who and what we are. It is never about being loved by others. It is about being loved by ME, the person who was killing me at the rate of one drink and one drug and one cigarette and lots of bad habits every day. Recovery is truly all about being a much better caretaker for myself and proving that self-esteem shows in the way I treat myself in every area.

I cannot profess to love and honor myself or to be very far into this recovery deal unless I walk with myself in ways that are truly loving. This is the challenge to be met in recovery, for me. To be integral and honorable about self-acceptance means I treat myself well and that allows me to treat others well also. This is the journey we begin with these steps, and it never, ever ends…

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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