Biggest Lesson of The Year.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people post about the biggest lessons they’ve learned this year, and I have been mulling over mine for the past several weeks. This has been a very significant year of growth for me, and I’m not sure I can narrow it down to one big lesson. If I had to summarize what I’ve learned into a general theme, I think my biggest lesson would be that courage can take a long time to build. 

The more philosophical definition states: courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, pain, danger, etc. without fear. I like this definition more than “doing something that frightens one.”

What I find interesting about these definitions of the same word is that one definition says to do it with fear, the other says to do it without. What I find fascinating about the conflicting definitions is that it’s a great example of the complexity of language. Context matters. The courage to jump out of a plane is different from the courage it takes to walk away from a marriage.

The courage I’m referring to is the philosophical kind. To get your mind and spirit into a state of confidence to do something without fear requires identifying and overcoming insecurities and weaknesses. It requires self-reflection and processing. It requires intentional, meaningful, purposeful, and thoughtful consideration. These things definitely do not happen overnight. In fact, it can take years. And I don’t feel like people tell you that. 

We live in such a fast-paced, instant gratification society. We never see the work that goes into building the final product. Singer Lainey Wilson spent over ten years in the country music industry trying to make it before she became an “overnight” success. I’m sure those ten years were a critical time of learning, both personally and professionally, before she was launched into fame. 

God’s timing is perfect.

When I reflect on some of the challenges I’ve faced, I’ve been thinking about those with whom I have confided. They have been so patient and supportive. They’ve known for a long time what I am just coming to terms with. Part of me feels silly for admitting now what they’ve been softly telling me for years. While I logically knew what they were telling me was true, my heart hadn’t caught up. Until now. My mind and spirit are finally aligned. And I’m so grateful for their kindness. They knew I would get there in my own time. They never pushed. They let me feel what I needed to feel, go through the (e)motions, and learn the lessons on my own. 

Philosophical courage comes from deep within your soul, and it takes time to rise to your head and your heart. And that’s okay. To embrace the nature of courage, getting to a place of quality mind and spirit to do something without fear, takes courage in itself. There are so many factors woven into the fabric of who we are. Tugging at one thread, sometimes, unravels several others. It takes focus and patience to mend. We can be hard on ourselves for not getting there in a timeframe others expect of us or we wish of ourselves. And it’s important to recognize, not everyone will choose to repair in the first place. It takes courage to start, courage to endure, and courage to overcome.