What Does It Mean To Live Courageously?

Jonathan's Story

It all started with a Weetabix packet.

Years ago as a 9 year old kid I had sent off for a computerized astrology reading. One of the suggested careers was 'lawyer', and that was it, my mind had been made up. It appealed not to my interest in the practice of law, but rather the fantasy that I would be rich, powerful and be given automatic status. This became my path, my only path. My mind was closed to looking at anything else. I successfully got onto a law degree and when l didn't do particularly well in my degree I thought, "Well, I'm not very good at that so I'll go and do something else."

You see, I carried a belief that if I'm not the best at something then there is no point doing it. Being average was not ok. It was not enough. I was not enough.

Back then, my only awareness was that the legal world felt like a very 'adult' world, and I, on the other hand, still felt like a child. My belief in my abilities was non-existent, but I did not know that I carried this belief back then. This realisation would only come about years later after a debilitating illness stopped me in my tracks.

I had left the lawyer life behind and found a job in a pub, then in a restaurant and soon I was the manager, running a huge restaurant. It was fulfilling, exciting and hard graft. But I burnt out, getting very sick and needing to find a way back to health, which was not obvious and not available on the National Health. I fought hard and in the process started to investigate how I had got into this situation.

What I found was that I was always trying to be more (more money, a better body, more expensive clothes, funnier, more outrageous, better read, better travelled) because I didn't believe that I was enough as I was.

'Being more' was not about healthy striving, it was about seeking approval, trying to get attention so that someone, anyone would find me interesting - it was a sort of desperation to find love. Eventually I started to understand that all of these were strategies, patterns of behaviour and ways to survive that I had learnt along the way. Far from getting me what I wanted (self respect, dignity, integrity, honesty, courage, connection) these strategies were getting in the way.

This is How it Worked for Me.

Belief - I am not enough.

Strategy - Get attention by being funny, outrageous, buying expensive clothes, going to the right places etc.

Result - I move further away from who I truly am (shy, reserved, fearful, nervous and sometimes dull and boring) and feel increasingly lost, empty and on completely the wrong path.

Jonathans Story

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The Way Through was:

Embrace my imperfections, learn that I am enough as I am and dare to show up in the world as my authentic self.

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