Courage to want more, but the right kind of more.

Courage, dear heart. I’ve always loved that saying. Not that I have a particular affinity for anything written by C.S. Lewis, but that saying shifted my thinking. I’m not a courageous person, I don’t leap without looking, I can’t throw caution to the wind, and I have trouble understanding why I just can’t find peace within my heart.

It’s taken me a long time to have clarity on this. I don’t want courage, per se. I want the ability to achieve happiness and peace (no small feat), and I think courage in myself is key to this. But, let’s start at the beginning.

A little bit more.

A little bit more money, a little more vacation, a bit more glamour, 5 more lbs to go, and one more designer bag. THEN, I will be happy.

Said everyone ever.

Life is like this weird bargaining act. It’s not in reality, but that’s often how we treat it.

courage, dear heart. image portraying a sad woman in Gabrielle Arruda designs

There are not atheists in fox holes. It epitomizes our ability to bargain with god, the world, or someone bigger than ourselves.  Now, most of us (thankfully) are not put in life-threatening situations regularly or ever. So we might not be praying for our lives, but we all break out in pleas when we want something.

But almost all of us, work on a bargaining system with ourselves.  We convince ourselves that if we lose just 5 more lbs we will be happy. A bargain within itself. And then we go further and break it down on a micro level. If I have a salad for lunch, I can have an oreo for a snack. And that will get me what I want.

Now, I’m not saying re allocating efforts and figuring out balance is not key.  Have the salad, to justify the cookies.  But, bargaining for happiness isn’t the way to go. It doesn’t lead to a peaceful heart, or a happy life.

I look back on my wants of the years past. I was convinced if I got those shoes ( and boy, were they pretty shoes), I would be fulfilled. But once, I got them, wore them, and loved them.. they became part of my regular. And I needed something MORE to make me happy.

Enter in upping the ante.  Well, maybe I need a (enter in bigger and better item here) or I need to be prettier to be happier… To ACTUALLY be fulfilled. It takes courage to know that fulfilling yourself is larger than any one act or any one item.

But, I bought more, I spent more, I lost weight, I got nicer makeup, I redid my home. It’s all BEAUTIFUL now.  But, I’m still not happy.

There are two lessons here. Don’t bargain for your future. You are the only person who can make your happiness come true. Set goals, define what you want in life and go after it.

And two, make your life expand past what you think you want. Have courage in the path. If you are doing what you need to, and are proud of your efforts and work, trust that the world will return what you need. It’s not blind faith, it’s not faith-based at all… It is trusting that your hard work will have purpose in a way that you can’t see yet. That is courage, courage in yourself.

courage dear heart.

Will you really be happier if you get a beach house and take insta-worthy shots on a swan blow up? Or is that happiness because other people will admire you? If it’s the latter, then don’t chase that, it’ll fade REAL fast.

If having a beautiful home, will fulfill you, will make you smile every time you enter it, then do it. I’m not saying material things can’t provide some form of enjoyment. But enjoyment is different than happiness, and we are talking about true happiness, here.

For true happiness there needs to be a bigger goal at play.  Does that home that is beautiful make you feel happy every time you enter it, because its YOUR safe space, YOUR retreat, and YOUR heart. Then that home will provide more than just a room full of things.  It will provide you with a fulfillment buying and bargaining seemingly did (in a fleeting, un-sustained way).

So don’t bargain yourself short. Tackle the larger goal, and the rest will follow. When you go tit for tat with your life and happiness, you’re bound to break and feel lost.  You can’t see the larger goal. You can’t understand why you don’t fit within your own life. It’s not a lack of purpose, it’s a lack of courage in yourself.

Don’t sell your life for one pair of Louboutins. Or even a beach house.  Sell your handwork for the larger goal that will make you happy. Be worth more, have courage within your heart.

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