An affirmation card by Louise Hay (affirmations can be a great way to start to uncover our magnificent selves!)

My mother ran into a woman, several months ago, that I had taken care of when I was a nurse (another part of my story!). She told my mother that I had been her nurse when she had a miscarriage, and that what I said to her, was a comfort and gave her hope. I felt flooded with gratitude that something I said, all those years ago, made a positive difference.

Nursing wasn’t my calling, and I only worked as one for a few years in my early 20’s. What I did love was talking with my patients, listening to what was happening in their lives, offering some thoughts. I never thought of this (talking) as a “gift”. As a matter of fact, I went through periods of my life where I tried not to talk, feeling that it was a defect of character.

How many times do we think that what we have to offer is no big deal? Even worse than that, the very thing that makes us unique, we try to stifle or hide because someone close to us said that they didn’t like or appreciate it, and so we too begin to see ourselves as defective, and try to conform to an image that is more “acceptable” to others, leaving the “original us” hidden deep inside.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are“.  e.e. cummings

33 thoughts on “Courage”

  1. Mary,
    You are again, right on! It does take much courage to grow up and become the person we truly are! You and your continuing affirmations are among my main helpers in this continuing journey to grow up into the person I truly am.
    Thank you so much!
    From Fran

  2. This one speaks volumes! When someone tells me a card, letter or gift I sent meant the world to them, it lifts me up! A man told me I inspired him over a decade ago to fight leukemia with herbs after he spoke with me. You never know when someone is listening!

  3. I wish everyone in the world could see your post today, Mary. This idea, above all else, would start every single person down the right road. Contributions to our fellow travelers may seem to us to be just a moment’s interaction, but can make every difference to someone else on their path.

    Here’s to “growing up!”

  4. ‘To Thine own Self be True’. And how long it takes many of us to know just what our own selves to be. Yesterday Jon Katz placed on his blog the fact that he became very anxious without a focus for his day. I related strongly to that. I don’t know whether it is the result of having a creative mind that always wants a goal or focus for each day or whether I’m afraid of the emptiness of a day. Unless someone shares with us, we never know how we influence or inspire others with something we’ve said or done. hank you Mary, it does take courage to be who we each are but also to feel comfortable in who we are. And, at this time of year with some personal sorrow in my life with one of my adult children’s behaviour, my wish is to see the Christmas season pass by me without me having to participate in it. I’d like to be a turtle. Life can change in one moment of time when a decision is made and nothing is the same again, ever. But that is off topic to yours.

    SandyP in Canada

    1. Sandy P.,
      The Christmas season is a beautiful time of the year, but it can also be a cruel time when one is hurting.

      I wish you peace and the freedom to spend Christmas in whatever way eases you through it. I don’t believe there is one person among those who’ve read your post who isn’t sending you love and hugs right now. I sure am.


  5. I’ve been a nurse all my life and the best part, hands down, is the conversations you get to have with so many different people. It’s fun to think that maybe you helped some folks along the way with your words of encouragement at this most vulnerable time in their lives. I am sure, knowing you, that you helped tons.

    My son graduates in two days from nurses’ training and it warms my heart that he may be doing the same.

    This e.e. cummings quote is spectacular!! Thank you!

  6. I had coffee yesterday with a young friend. She gave me a lovely “philosophy” shower gel – named “amazing grace” in a container titled “with gratitude.” I was surprised when she told me how much our conversations meant to her, and how her life has changed since meeting me. Wow!! You’re right, Mary, you just never know when some little thing you’ve said impacts someone’s life. Understanding the power of words and things we consider “small” helps keep us focused on sending out positive rather than negative energy.

    Happy holidays – peace, love and joy to all who gather here.

  7. I have been thinking a lot about yesterday’s post Mary- Imagine That part 2 –
    and the quote by Nelville Goddard: “Nothing stands between you and the fulfillment of your dreams but facts, and facts are the creations of imagining. If you change your imagining, you will change the facts.”

    And here in your post today your words “…conform to an image…”

    Image, Imagine.

    Put simply, our identities are creations of our imaginings.

  8. lynne i just wrote your last sentence on an index card for my thought for the day. perfect. thank you.

  9. Mary, you ask the question “how many times do we think that what we have to offer is no big deal”? Last night when I was speaking to my elderly Mom, she was fixated on the song “What A Wonderful World”. It was in her mind but she couldn’t recall the tune, the words, or who she remembered singing it (Louis Armstrong). Just that she loved it. I told her I loved that song too and had it on my IPOD sung by Eva Cassidy. Mom said, will you sing it for me? Now, while I would never sing in public, I can carry a tune well enough to sing to my Mom. So I sang her the song over the phone. We continued our conversation and were saying our goodbyes when she said “thank you for singing to me”. It was so sweet. And all of a sudden I saw her in a different light…an older woman who just wanted to be sung to. My heart overflowed with love and gratitude and it was a great lesson to begin this holiday season. Thanks for the affirmation!

    1. Kathye, your post really brought tears to my eyes. My mom is 94 and, although very independent, is starting to see things happening with herself due to age. Just the other night, I was thinking about the adjustments she is having to go through and I realized that all she wants is to be respected for who she is and the life she’s lived. She’s not looking for everyone to heap accolades on her…..just recognize that she too has a story.

      In keeping with Mary’s words of wisdom today, your post gave me an ‘AHA!’ moment that opened my eyes even more to my Mom, as well as my heart to more compassion. Thank you for this.

      1. Oh…you are so welcome Suzanne. I realize now that I, more often than not, have been responding to my mom’s “adjustments” with humor, as she often does. But last night stopped me in my tracks. Seemed she was trying to recapture some distant memory and the singing helped. I need to be more compassionate too. May God bless all of our moms…those here and beyond. Much love…K

  10. How true. Often it’s the simple “little” things we do with a spirit of compassion, love and related-ness that has an incredible impact and ripple effect. I heard a great sermon that the root of stress (stress stealing our energy and the ability to get outside of our self) is condemnation, which leads to fear, which leads to stress. According to the Mayo Clinic 70% of disease is related to stress. Probably a conservative figure.

    Adam and Eve were like God (not God) until they chose to rebel, then they were out of the Garden of abundance and God-likeness and bound by the bitter root of condemnation-fear-stress (poverty, lack, violence etc). Re-establishing our righteousness, our God-likeness came at the Cross. Innocence lovingly and freely given in exchange for the world’s guilt.

  11. Thank you everyone…. I read all the comments after Mary’s – each comment had me nodding, smiling and tearing up. Have a wonderful day everyone!

  12. Loved this, Mary. It truly does take courage to be authentic- but once you begin to live that way, you never want to go back. Yes, there are starts and stops, but more living for our own truths and not as concerned about what others think any longer. I call this playing “small” when we are afraid to be our true, shining glorious selves around others we feel may be judging us. Can’t tell you how often I’ve played small. But when I don’t and am myself I feel so much better. And I think, wow, what an impact it would have on this world if we all lived from who we truly are. WOW.

  13. Who wants to pick up the morning newspaper when there is always such GOOD news here? I savored each and everyone’s comments this morning. On the topic of being true to one’s self and calling, just this morning on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, he shared some information about Willa Cather, whose birthday it is today. I think I’ve read everything she ever wrote – but it took a very special letter from a friend who gently admonished her to claim her true voice in her writing for her to leave her editing job in New York. The friend sensed her talents were being smothered and told her so. Here is the link – the letter is so beautifully written.
    The other day I was in a mall trying to find something special for my son’s girlfriend. A little shop called Bohemian Chic lured me in. Not a soul inside but the owner who let me browse quietly. I already had purchased a simple brown knit sweater dress at a regular ol’ Macy’s but knew I’d find something special in this store to jazz it up. The lady delighted in showing me some wonderful wraps, scarves, etc. and we found just the right one. I told her it was for my son’s girlfriend and for some reason her response just made me tear up. She said, “Oh I can see it in your eyes that you love her very much”. And I just felt that warm connection with her, a total stranger who dared to be maybe a little forward in acknowledging my emotion. Yes, words are powerful. A caustic one uttered in haste can sear another’s heart to the quick, but just those few words that lady said to me really made my shopping day one I won’t forget. And yes, I do love that girl my son is so lucky to have found! Sandy, I’m so sorry you are feeling unsettled what with whatever is going on in your son’s life. Know you can check in here every day for simple friendship and encouragement, and always, always, kind words.

    1. On the Writer’s Almanac link,scroll down to the paragraph on Willa Cather and click on ‘more’ to read the letter, – enjoy!

    2. That is a wonderful letter Susan! Thank you for posting it and for your heart-warming story of your shopping trip. I’m not sure if you put these 2 together, but I loved it that Willa Cather was noted as being a part of the Bohemian culture and your little store was called Bohemian Chic!

  14. Mary,

    I am so grateful and humbled by your intuitive ability to say just the right thing at the right time. Thanks again for this morning’s uplifting words. I hope you know how very gifted you are.

  15. Powerful, powerful message, Mary. The sad part is the ‘conformation’ usually begins in childhood; the glad part is the ‘growing’ can happen at any age. Here’s to shortening the gap!!

  16. There was a part of your comments that clicked with me – “the “original us” hidden deep inside.” I think that is why we are all here. This is the task/challenge of life.

    I have been studying the Enneagram for a few years now. I think it is such a good tool to help us do that.

    Wonder if any other readers of this blog utilize these teachings also???

    1. The title of your post – Courage – is the quality that my personality type needs to find within and utilize to conquer their fears.

  17. Mary, Thank-you for this comforting message . I was a nurse for twenty-six years when I found it was not what I wanted anymore. It was a long and difficult process to come to terms with this. I got some help along the way to ease all the negative,guilty and punishing thoughts in my mind.
    The courage to do this has made me a happy and fulfilled woman today.
    God bless you,
    Cindy Chambers

  18. We all could use a little courage to be who we really are, I think WFF is filled up with courage and goodness. I am overwhelmed with the kindness shown to me yesterday, thank you all, this is a very loving place to share hurts and thoughts and ideas. I am with Maria, I’m so glad you didn’t stop talking Mary!

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