It evokes pictures of some courageous and strong people we all know, or have seen in movies—I think of Braveheart, Wonder Woman, and other SuperHeroes.
The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr., airline pilots (who have successfully landed an ailing aircraft full of people), and others we hear about in the news, are the ‘big’ people.
They are ones who have an impact on many. They are all ‘BadassCourageous.’ There is even a local SuperHero who saved another woman from a continued sexual attack. Here she is. And she is 15 years old.
When I think of people I know, besides our Local SuperHero mentioned above, those who come to mind are the ones who:
• decided to quit their job and go back to school
• broke off a toxic relationship
• decided to move to the other side of the World
• have opened a business solo
• went overseas alone (knowing only the English language)
• decided to get up on a stage for the first time
• presented an idea to ‘experts’
• published their first book
• decided to confront someone in power
• told her/his employer why they deserved the raise
• confronted the bully in their office (or at a school)
• moved out of a house that no longer served her/his needs
• left a relationship that was toxic
• and so many more
We have all accomplished courageous things in our lives...and not always recognized them as being courageous. Just walking into a fitness facility or a martial arts studio takes courage for so many.
What about you?
What courageous acts have you created so far in your life? Absolutely no need to be a SuperHero to have Courage. We all do courageous things all the time. Most often we see them as ‘life challenges.’ And life challenges absolutely cultivate our courage. Everyone has a story. What are your stories?
The one fear I hear the most in my line of work is the fear of going out alone. What is the true fear here? It is the fear of getting hurt by an attack, and not knowing what to do, or having the resources to be safe. It is so much easier to stay home. So we limit ourselves. We limit our life experiences. We limit our freedom. We settle for limited lives.
The fear of embarrassment and rejection, often go hand in hand. For this reason we don’t introduce ourselves at an event where we might not know very many people. Some of us won’t even go to a party alone. If we do go, we might sit in ‘our spot’ the entire night.
Or we fear getting up in front of a group of people and speaking our minds. How many times have you seen an empty dance floor…only to begin filling up after one brave soul went out there to dance (that would be me…lol. And I usually don’t wait long. When a danceable song I like comes on, I’m there).
There are so many instances whereby we allow our fears to stop us from living a full, free, and happy life. It’s easier to be mediocre, normal, let others have their way, and we settle for where we are because it is in our comfort zone.
‘Confrontation is just too hard'
We can only develop courage when we charge ahead through our fears. This is the only (and I emphasize only) way to build courage.
So now think of how you would respond if your life was in danger. Is it scary just thinking about it? Our brains all ‘think’ of what we would do. You can think it over and over, and you will end up reacting with what is in your body at the moment. You will truly never know until it happens. Being prepared is absolutely one of life's 'best practices.'
From my experience in teaching self-defense and martial arts programs these past 36 years, our bodies are the ones who will respond. Not our minds.
Courage is not in our heads. Courage is in our bodies, as are all emotions. Think of sadness. Have you ever lost a loved one? Lost a love? Lost anyone in your life whom you valued? Where do you feel the pain? In your head? I don’t think so. The pain resides in our hearts. The pain is real.
If we could do it, most of us would just pull out the pain with our hands. However, because it is energy we cannot ‘pull’ it out. Most of us simply cannot physically ‘grasp’ energy. We cannot ‘will’ it away either. (If you can, show me how please…(I want to ‘lol’ here, as I don’t think anyone will come thru with the ‘how-to’ on this one.) And what is the most common method to release that pain? Tears. Tears allow healing, as they allow the emotion to release. This is not news. We all know this.
How will courage work In confrontations?
We have three choices: Fight - Flight - Freeze. Which one will work for you? In any situation—even in a conversation with a relative, or the bully at work, or school, or someone in power, which response will your body elicit?
Gonna talk about ‘freeze’ for a sec here. When we ‘freeze’ as in paralyzing fear, or someone says something to us that makes us clam-up (and we truly didn’t want to clam-up!), how do we get out of that frozen state?
Maybe the person walked away before we could say what we really wanted to say. Then we’re left depleted, discouraged, dis-enheartened, belittled, feel like we ‘lost,’ etc. And it can easily bring tears.
What could you do to get out of the ‘freeze response?’
What in your body allows you to move this frozen energy? If you guessed ‘take a deep breath’ you are correct. Is that a thought in your brain? It could start as a ‘reminder’…”oh yeah, breathe.” However, the breathing itself is a body-response. Your deep breath clears your mind, as it allows fresh blood to flow into it with the renewed oxygen flow, thus unfreezing your body. This is another gift we were given as humans. This deep breath allows you to also relax which is the cornerstone for stress-reduction.
So now let’s look at someone physically coming at you in a threatening manner. Time and again I have asked people new to ‘quick-reaction-body-knowledge’ to show me what they would do.
I even let them know what I am going to do (how I will ‘attack’ them). Now bear in mind, I make sure that everyone is safe in this exercise—no one is getting punched out or knocked to the floor).
Time and time again, they freeze, or move in a way that would allow me to continue to overpower them or re-attack (if I was a ‘bad’ person). Even though in their heads they may have thought of what they will do, their response is quite short of what they were thinking.
Sometimes I tell them exactly how they will be confronted, then show them exactly what to do, and they still do something different. Why is this? Because that is what is in the body. That is the memory of the body—the knowledge and intelligence of the body. The body’s brilliance.
The muscles can only move with the knowledge the body contains.
Our entire lifetimes we are inputting information (emotion) into our bodies. When therapists can elicit something that was ‘deeply buried’ inside of someone, where was it buried? Our brains are only thoughts. The energy of that past experience is buried in our bodies. It comes out most readily with our tears.
So then, how do we change the response of the muscles to move in the most efficient way to be safe?
It starts with the input the nervous system receives. When physical confrontations happens, the messages are sent through the eyes into the brain’s nervous system and then into the body. In order to change how the muscles react, we must re-educate them.
This does not happen in one hour or even one day or one week. It takes hours and hours of time, depending on the severity of the response (or non-response) to re-educate the muscles.
When the muscles have this new knowledge in them, it creates a response in the brain that gives us the confidence needed to move through fear and challenges with courage. When our bodies know that we can knock out a perpetrator, the confidence rises, we become more relaxed, and we have now created what I call #BadassCourage:
• the ability to stand your ground
• centered and balanced
• speak your truth, regardless of what other people think or say about you, and regardless of the possible consequences
• find your own freedom
You fight to defend yourself, and come out on top (it may all be verbal). You are not fighting for mediocrity. Who wants to 'kind of-sort of' feel good? You are fighting within to ‘win the battle.’ You might end up with a few ‘battle scars.’ And those are good, because you fought the fight. You did it. You defended yourself. I see these as ‘Badges of Badass.’
You will find your voice when you develop your #BadassCourage. Start by collecting your own Badges of Badass.
Finding your voice allows you to make the choices that work for you (and those you love). It allows you to stand up for yourself. It allows you to speak up. Be bold. Be creative. Achieve your own freedom. And that is where you will find your happy place. It will allow you to live the life you want.
Contact me if you are interested in finding out more about your own BadassCourage (complimentary consultation), and how your life can totally change in a positive, powerful way.
Clara E Minor
MINORSAN Self-Defense & Fitness