Friend, it would be anyone’s wish to live a life minus regrets. To reach the end of the day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime… and be able to look back and have no thoughts of what you wish you would have done or said differently.
I wish that I could say that I’ve lived a life without regrets, but I can’t.
There are times when I wish that I would have walked away, times when I wish I would have stood up, and other times when I wish that I would have taken a risk and been courageous.
These are the thoughts that make me realize just how much bravery is required to live our lives, especially to live them fully, because life can be scary, and hard, and damaging.
Living leaves us with scars. The external and the internal.
The external ones that you can cover with clothing and makeup, and the internal ones that you cover with smiles and insincerity.
Insincerity because these internal scars, the ones that damage our hearts and minds, contribute to us behaving in ways that cause us to live a life that isn’t fully true to who we are at our essence.
Once we experience loss, rejection, criticism, or discouragement we begin to second guess ourselves, and live a life with self-doubt.
Sometimes even believing that we deserve less.
Friend, I have lived in fear because of the scars on my heart and mind.
There are times when I have felt inadequate, not good enough, and lacking in some way, and this has resulted – at times – in me not reacting as I should have or as I wish I had.
A boyfriend poured beer over my head after a disagreement. I excused this behavior and took the blame. I should have walked away.
The time I witnessed a friend being talked down to and I said nothing. I should have stood up.
The times my heart felt something; hurt, love, confusion… I should have spoken up.
I remained quiet.
I didn’t take a risk.
I didn’t live courageously.
Life has risks, and they are not the ones that dare you to jump out of an airplane.
The risks come in loving someone, even though the other person could leave. The risk comes in starting a conversation with a stranger, even though you could be rejected… and in a thousand other, seemingly small, ways.
Courage happens when, despite your fears and scars, you live your life as you wish to, in a way that looking back you won’t have regrets.
You walk away. You stand up. You speak up.
You do all the scary things that life sends you way, both the big and the small.
This, friend, is to live courageously.