Courage is the new currency - The 4 fold approach to building it within you

by Jeanette Peterson

Courage is the new currency - The 4 fold approach to building it within you

Courage! Many would likely say it is an uncomfortable and particularly tricky quality to embrace in life. Yet, truthfully speaking from experience, the hardest part is to come to terms with the reality that it is all about letting go from a place of love, instead of bracing for battle from a place of fear.

I can honestly admit, like many, I learned this lesson the long and hard way. For most of my life, I grabbed hold and held on tight to my mental construct of what I thought it meant to be courageous. As though I was applying a mental bullet-proof vest or a Knight's armour as I headed out into the world ready for battle.

I am sure I am not the only person who has ever felt this way about courage. It was as though I needed to strap courage on and step out into the world, hoping for the best. Whilst deep on the inside, I was trembling with trepidation, bringing to life, the absolute essence of fear itself. In reflection now, it would appear I was living with the fear volume on the high setting.

What we are told about Courage

Courage is described and defined in the dictionary as a kind of strength in the face of fear, pain, grief, opposition or hardship, and the ability to do something that frightens you.

I always used to approach courage this way, where I viewed it from the lens of fear, exactly as I was taught unwittingly through cultural and social conditioning. Yet today I am pleased to say that courage shows up differently for me now, seen through the beautiful lens of love.

Why? You might ask.  

I learned to understand the difference within myself through observation and awareness of how I showed up in the world. I realised I was subconsciously showing up to almost everything in life, from a conditioned place of fear.

We have been told half of the story

Through my personal experience, I learned over time that I had been told only half of the story. It is hard enough to find your way through life, but when you realise you only have half the information, you begin to realise it's no wonder you sometimes feel completely lost. 

Why are we regularly told this particular half of the story?  

Is it deliberate that the dictionary definition of courage is based on fear instead of love?  

Is it an accidental negative bias or intentional manipulation?

Have our struggles with courage been an accident or an orchestration?

These are important questions I asked myself. You may find asking these questions of yourself useful in your development, particularly overlaid in the context of the world we are currently living in.

To contextualise this with courage, it is important to wrap some understanding around the differences between emotions and feelings. These two words regularly used interchangeably, would appear to be detrimental to both our personal and societal development.

Think about it for a moment. What would the world look like if courage came from us all from a place of love?

There is a significant body of research available to back up the differences between emotions and feelings. I would strongly suggest that if you, like I did, got these muddled together, it might pay to do some research to understand the significance of separating them for yourself. Understanding the differences might bring some helpful clarity as I describe how they play out completely differently when courage is in play both as an individual and collective society.

The emotions of Fear and Love 

For simplicity's sake, let's agree that there are, in relative terms, only two emotions that show up in real-time in the body as an apparent automated response. They are fear and love. These responses seem to rise within our body almost without, what seems like any effort or thought on our part, therefore appearing to be physically instinctive in nature.  

Fear is easy to describe in this way. Imagine a time when you felt frightened because something suddenly scared you. These feelings are the thoughts activated in the mind, as it tries to understand what is happening when fear has suddenly activated a sensation within the body.

When you see a baby animal, your newborn child for the first time, or are reunited with someone you love dearly the mind also kicks in with feelings. Here the instinctive emotion of love is activated within the body, causing a sensation that the mind identifies through feelings of joy and excitement.

I am sure both of the examples would be familiar to most people because, by the time we reach adulthood, we have all felt both the feelings associated with emotions of fear and love. However, by now, your conditioning has pre-dispositioned you to instinctively react from the emotional base of fear.

Can you change your instinctive response?

So with this in mind, we can begin to understand how our reactions to feelings can impact our response to any given situation that arises.

So what if I told you that you can interrupt these instinctive emotions with attention and awareness, as the emotion is triggered within your body? 

You can decide whether you want to move forward or reset your emotions not to be fear-based but instead be built on love.

Kind of cool don’t you think? It is like fear has reached out a hand, and instead of shaking it and saying 'yes thank you', you pause, then say 'no thank you'. To learn this in the context of courage is an incredibly powerful tool to develop. I use it often myself in life. I have also taught many people how to use it themselves.

How is this possible?

The reason we can move the subconscious from fear to love is simpler than you might think. As we go from one side of the brain to the other, from the fight or flight to the rational, we must pass through the emotional part of the brain. Learning to pause here and re-calibrate means you get to choose what happens next.

How does this play out with courage?

So when it comes to courage you get to choose whether you step forward into loving courage or fearful courage. 

Once you understand that for most of us, either by accident or intention, social and cultural conditioning has overworked our negative bias to kick in, so we habitually show up in fearful courage.

You have a choice! You have always had a choice, It is just that you likely didn’t know that you could reprogram your subconscious instinctive responses. But I am here to tell you that you absolutely can. In reflection, you already did once, through social and cultural conditioning. You see, as a child, your instinct was to show up in the emotion of love. Fear became a learned behaviour as a child, through social and cultural conditioning. So now, all you need to do is unlearn the fear response, one reaction and one circumstance at a time.

Building courage on a foundation of love

To successfully build loving courage instinctively into your life, you need to build it across the four elements of you; being your physical body, your mind, your heart and finally your spiritual connectivity.

So let's look at each one individually.

Building Physical Body Courage

Physical body courage is the most commonly thought to be understood courage of us all. We are firmly rooted in our bodily identity, so the building of physical body courage seems easy for most of us. Unfortunately, many of us think it is easy. Yet in reality, all is not what it seems. Our mind cleverly plays tricks on us to lead us to think we are physically courageous. We do this by clinging onto the things physically that make us feel safe, which are all built on fear, not love. Safety is a deeply conditioned feeling based on the fear that is propagated everywhere in society. You only have to turn your TV to the news to get a good dose of safety fear.

Couple this with a severe lack of bodily awareness, for most of us, and there is much work to be done. Even though we continue to invariably overstate our abilities around physical body courage. I am referring to the bulletproof vest analogy I mentioned way back at the beginning of this article. Pumped up with fear-based courage, our mind tries to pretend we are safe, but in reality, we are scared to death most of the time. So much so that we have become numb to it within our body through hypernormalisation. This leads to significant health problems in the long term.

Meditation and mindfulness techniques can help you to come into better true bodily awareness over time, as awareness is the first key development stage of meditation.

Building Heart Courage

Building heart courage is difficult because feelings of hurt, pride, trauma, pain and loss are felt deep within the heart. Stepping into heart courage from the emotional base of love requires forgiveness, and letting go of the pain we hold so deeply due to sorrow, loss and trauma. These are held strongly by the emotion of fear because we are scared to move forward when we have been hurt or disappointed. We are also riddled with guilt, another fear-based feeling, that if we move forward we may forget those we have loved and lost.

Once you open your heart to building heart courage, you can overcome your fear of letting go of those you loved and lost, in the knowing that they never really left you beyond their physical body.

Like every single particle explained in quantum physics, once they are connected they remain that way no matter where they go, whether their body leaves your view, or yours leaves theirs. It is known as Quantum entanglement. When you build body awareness, along with heart awareness you can begin, like I did to feel this deep connection again, like you did as a child, to all things, in all places, at all times.  

It is science! You can read about quantum entanglement easily.

Building heart courage is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever undertaken in my life. Loosening the grip of trauma, pain and loss allowed me, over time, to let go so I could welcome the emotion of love back into my heart. When this happened, my heart felt like a beautiful flower as it moved from a tightly closed bud, over time, into a beautiful open flower ready to receive love.

There are many techniques available to support the unfolding of trauma, pain and loss, and it is important to take your journey there your way. Seek the advice and support you need. There is no one shoe-fits-all approach in matters of the heart. Try as many ways of unpacking your trauma, pain and loss as you need to, because the rewards are infinite when you have an open heart.  

There are not nearly 8 billion of us here on earth with you, to leave you to unpack your loss and trauma on your own. Many people around you are ready to help. All you need to do is ask for the help you need. Asking for help is your heart stepping into heart courage.

Building Mental Courage

The vast majority of us spend far too much time stuck in our heads, overthinking everything and nothing all at once. Life is so full of stimuli, often leaving us feeling like our minds are running at high speed constantly.

I was once a chronic overthinker. The mind can be a trap where many of us get caught in negative loops for what can feel like an eternity. We are constantly fed the line that 'knowledge is power'. When in reality, when it comes to developing your natural intuition, knowledge looks more like child’s play.

Building mental courage is about learning to surrender to life whilst being able to tune out the mind. We can all do this better than we think. We learn to tune out so many things in life every day, or else we will exhaust ourselves before lunch. 

Through meditation and mindfulness practices, we can learn to become far more aware of the mind, and then learn to turn down the volume over time with ease.

People often ask me what is the trick to a peaceful state of mind. I say 'Think as least as possible'. 

The chase for intellect is of the mind. Surrender is an act of intuition, which exists outside of the mind completely. Why be constrained within the limitation of what you can store in your head when you have an infinite universe to play within?

Once you begin to build greater body courage and open your heart, you will begin to realise what a trickster the mind is. You can control your mind, one step at a time. It all begins with awareness.

Building Spiritual Courage

Spiritual courage is quite literally the Mecca of courage, excuse the pun. To build spiritual courage is to create the sense of knowing that everything will always be okay, no matter the outcome. 

Death does not scare those who have developed spiritual courage. It is the sense that you are more than your body and mind, that somehow you are connected to all things in all places and at all times, bringing a deep sense of calm in the face of absolutely anything. Your courage becomes unwavering no matter what comes at you in life.  

In this stage, people often associate those with spiritual courage as heroes. People with a courageous strength that draws other people to want to be close to them, even when they don’t understand why.

Building spiritual courage is not for the faint of heart. It is the last and most formidable courage to develop. If you have seen this courage in others, you know exactly what I mean. These people appear to be warriors and angels all in one skin. You would never mess with them, nor would you question their absolute loving devotion to humanity.

We all have the capability to become spiritual courage warriors. The world needs more of them, particularly in the state of the world we are living in today.

Your journey to spiritual courage is your own internal journey. It is not latching onto the spiritual courage of others. Your own spiritual courage is found deep within you and therefore you must go inward to find it for yourself.

Where to Start

Building the four forms of loving courage is a lifelong pursuit. Begin today with these words of loving encouragement;

‘Begin where you are, with what you have, and do what you can’

When you show up in the world as you were always meant to be, from a place of love, all you have to do from there is build your courage from the foundation of love, one step at a time.

Some days it will feel like one step forward and 10 steps back, yet others will feel like leaps forward. It is important to remember to just keep moving forward on your journey. Be present, surrender to your intuition, and let the beauty of life unfold.