My Call To Courage

Some time ago I’ve chosen August for my personal month of health care. I’ve decide that every year I will make a control check-up just to be sure that everything is all right.

Last week I called a doctor in order to get scheduled for a simple blood test. It was pretty easy to receive a referral, but once I started to ask for more detailed testing, I was dragged through the mud. With anger in his voice the doctor said that he’s basically losing his time. He also ignored other questions, suggested that I shouldn’t learn from Internet and offered some pills if I am interested.

No, thank you.

I was shocked and appalled by the fact that this kind of people work in the health service. How can they be so invulnerable while working with others?

I instantly scheduled another online appointment with a different doctor and I quickly learnt that everything what I heard from the previous one was bullshit. This one was competent, nice and helpful which made me very happy. I was excited and positive about his suggestions and the way of carrying on a conversation.

The point is that it shouldn’t be treated like “special”.

Unfortunately, I can tell you similar stories about hairdressers, cosmeticians, fitness instructors and mechanics. I treat my hairdresser like a hero not because she knows how to handle my hair well. I perceive her as a special one because subconsciously I compare her to the several hairdressers visited in the past which didn’t satisfy me with their services.

My friend has recently met a guy who is smart, handsome, similar to her, accepting and giving space for being honest. What are her first thoughts? He’s normal. It can’t be real.

I observe that more and more often we are surprised by kind words and simple gestures. Because more and more often we have contrasting experiences. Of course, we need contrast to highlight the meaning. It helps to learn appreciation. I just don’t like that normality slowly becomes unusual.

I live on this world only 25 years, but I guess that nowadays relationships are harder than ever. We’re all just fucked up and confused.

Some time ago I was using Tinder. Actually, I had a chance to meet there a few great people and I do not have any crazy situations to talk about, but I know that not everybody is so lucky. I heard a lot of weird stories. Trust me. A LOT.

I think that if you can call your relationship natural, normal and effortless (in a positive way) you are really blessed.

Many of my friends stay single. In general, around the world, marriage is declining, singles are rising. There are indications that the number of lifelong single people may increase dramatically in the coming years. For example, the Pew Research Center estimates that by the time today’s young adults in the U.S. reach the age of 50, about 25 percent of them will have been single their whole lives*.

We are more than ever afraid to be seen. We are afraid to commit. We are afraid to be disappointed and give somebody a part of ourselves which can be easily taken away or quickly crushed.

We prefer to run away than allow someone to run away from us. We don’t like to talk about our feelings until we are sure that they are mutual.

I was going through my Instagram feed this morning and I found a pic with text “You gotta leave before you get left”. Like, seriously?

Okay, some time ago I had similar mindset. I remember that one guy from high school. I was totally uninterested in him, but we were meeting with each other quite often. I liked him as a colleague but nothing more than that. So you can imagine my reaction on all the romantic gestures. I was openly pushing him away. But once he told me that maybe it does not make sense to date, I instantly started to cosy up. Just to make sure that I will say that maybe we should start seeing other people.

I always liked to get ahead, because it helped me to not get hurt. I used to put on my defensive shield and run away from the feelings. Thankfully, over time, I learnt that it made me a loser, not a hero.

If you have 97 minutes of your free time, I would highly recommend you to watch a speech of Brené Brown: The Call to Courage (available on Netflix), which shows what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty.

But first watch this one.

The absurd became the norm, right?

I am super afraid of talking about feelings. I have no problem with dirty jokes or small talks, but when it comes to feelings, I usually lose all the words. I do not express affection with long speeches or romantic letters but by simple acts of kindness. Cooking a great meal, bringing home his favourite juice, covering him up when he falls asleep or offering a massage with some background music.

My invitation for a dinner never says “I want to see you”. It is always a question if he is hungry.

I always wanted to be perceived as a strong girl. I tried to be successful. If I did something, I wanted to know what will be the effect. When I was preparing myself for a hard conversation, I needed to know what I can hear in response. I was the most happy when someone described me as smart, powerful or effective. I did not want to be nice or sensitive.

Now I slowly start to understand that by showing feelings we do not show the weakness. We show the power. If you are sad it does not mean that you are fragile. It means that you are a human.

“Vulnerability is the center of shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. But it is also the birthplace of love, belonging, and love. […] To love is to be vulnerable. To give someone your heart and say, ’I know this could hurt so bad, but I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to be vulnerable and love you.’ And there is an increasing number of people today that are not willing to take that risk. They’d rather never know love than to know hurt, or grief – and that is a huge price to pay.”

– Brené Brown

Last weekend I was in the mountains. I have never climbed so high my lifetime like last Saturday, but it was definitely worth to do and I would love to repeat that.

But by being there, in the middle of nowhere, I realised that you have to be really vulnerable when you play with Mother Nature. When you just go up for a few hours and all your thoughts are focused on the next steps, when you do not know the result, when you do not know if your body can do it. If it does not rain in 15 minutes, if it is not getting darker. If you don’t get stuck somewhere over the rainbow.

You have to give your heart and say “I know this could be hard but I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to try”. Because only when you take a risk and tolerate a potential failure, you can be delighted by amazingness of Nature.

But for that you need to choose courage over comfort.

And allow yourself to feel.

“Here’s the thing. I’m not going to bullshit you. Vulnerability is hard. And it’s scary, and it feels dangerous. But it’s not as hard, scary, or dangerous as getting to the end of our lives and having to ask ourselves, “What if I would have shown up?’”

– Brené Brown

What if I would have said I love you?





* Around the World, Marriage Is Declining, Singles Are Rising. Why it matters that globally, fewer people are married, more are living single by Bella DePaulo Ph. D.

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