Author: Tom Heston, MD
Want to build up your courage, today? Then speak up for the things you know to be right. Stand tall. Speak up.
A fool speaks of trivial things without thinking, but it takes inner strength to talk about our most important thoughts in a respectful and courteous manner. Standing up for what is right by putting into words our most important thoughts takes courage.
"Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk." - Margaret Chase Smith.
Margaret Chase Smith knows what she is talking about. She was the first woman to represent Maine in the U.S. House and first in the U.S. Senate. She was the first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress. In 1964, she became the first woman to ever be placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency by one of the major political parties. What was her secret to achieving groundbreaking success? Most certainly, one reason she was so successful was her courage to speak up for what she believed to be true and right.
Do you know anyone who is afraid to say "I love you" but always has the latest neighborhood gossip? It's possible that this person is afraid to make a real connection with you, and instead prefer to keep the relationship at a distant, superficial level. Usually, their fear of rejection -- not lack of love -- prevents them from ever sharing their deepest thoughts.Without the courage to speak up, their relationships remain shallow, and likewise their contribution to society remains shallow.
Perhaps you know people who will never say "I'm sorry." Why won't they ever say they are sorry? This usually is because they are afraid to admit they were wrong. They are afraid to show that they are human and capable of making mistakes. They are afraid to show weakness. Yet by not sharing our vulnerabilities, we create an emotional wall around ourselves. We become unable to build strong friendships. Everyone suffers.
So, do you want to become more courageous, today? Start right now by speaking up and sharing with others your most important feelings, and your most important thoughts.
Talk in a kind, and respectful manner, so others will respond positively. When we are rude or abrupt, others frequently stop listening, and our words then become meaningless. A good way to learn how to effectively speak up is by following the principles set forth by Toastmaster's International. Many communities have a local club that helps members improve their speaking. The goal is to speak effectively. Thoughtless speech cannot help others. People are going to be much more receptive to listening when we speak firmly, but in a kind, gentle, and respectful manner.
Finally, is there really such a thing as "quiet courage"? Although this concept has been romanticized in books, the concept is very misleading. Certainly, the courageous are quiet when it comes to complaining or criticizing. They don't seek out publicity for publicity's sake. But this doesn't mean courage is "quiet." Not at all. Courage comes from deep inside of us, and it grows only through sharing. We need to speak up in order to share our innermost feelings.
Follow these three principles to become more courageous, today.
1. Speak up with confidence. You can become a more courageous person, today, by sharing with others your most important feelings and thoughts.
2. Speak up about your beliefs. Moral courage requires us to stand up for what we believe in.
3. Speak up with respect. People are more receptive to your message when you speak up in a firm but kind and respectful manner.