Story Takes Courage – Especially When the Story is Your Life
AUGUST 24, 2014 BY LUKE DAVIS
A friend of mine shared this Ted Talk; The power of vulnerability, on Facebook today, it’s a powerful story all by itself about vulnerability and connection with others, a very powerful presentation, but right in the middle of this Ted Talk Brenè defines the word courage. “To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” I am a writer and this definition sent shivers down my spine. I don’t think I have ever heard a definition of a word that has resonated so powerfully with me.
Courage (from latin: coeur): to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
It’s as personal as it gets, even imaginary stories are your fantasies put to paper, and published for everyone to read. You are telling your story, or at least a part of it, with your heart. I don’t know a single author at The Good Men Project who doesn’t feel the hurt when a troll trashes their articles, who doesn’t bounce around the author’s forum with joy when their articles deeply touch someone, or who doesn’t feel almost unloved when no one reads their articles.
When I think about telling my whole story with my heart though I can understand what is meant by courageous.
As authors we only write little bits of our life and it can be hard enough as it is. We cut it down, change the language, edit the grammar and make it palatable for the public. As we do this the bits that came from our heart get reduced, cut and edited as well. How would we fare with a biography, not a biography of events, but a biography of our story from the heart? Once it made it through the publisher how much of this story would be left? Would it even be recognizable?
Could you tell your own story, even to yourself? Tell about the times you hated, loved, laughed, raged, and feared. Tell about nights with friends you wish would never end. Tell about events you wish you could wipe from your memory. Tell your deepest regrets both openly and honestly. Tell about girls you have fallen for and never told. Tell about stupid and dangerous things you have done. Tell about the times you were proud of your achievements, and disappointed with your failures. To tell all this with complete honesty and ownership, knowing you now judge yourself for your own intentions, actions, failures and accomplishments.
If you read an author’s work, and you can see it comes from their heart, take a moment to think about whether you would have the same courage.
What sort of person would someone capable of telling their whole story from the heart have to be? To be able to own every action deed and intention they have ever had and state openly that this was their life and they own it. What would they be capable of? I do know their self-worth and self-confidence would be unshakable. I think I would feel very small standing next to such a person. I think Marvel would need a new class of superhero as this person would make the present heroes seem week and paltry by comparison.
I see the articles written by The Good Men Project authors, I see the bits of their hearts invested in these pieces, and I see how courageous they are. Some have stories which are heartbreaking, coming from abuse, neglect, tragedy or accidents. It takes a strong person even to take that first step, to write that first article.
If you read an author’s work, and you can see it comes from their heart, take a moment to think about whether you would have the same courage. Would you have the courage to tell the world about one of your darkest moments in the hope of helping others? If you judge those same authors because you disagree with that piece of their life, would you even have the courage to admit you have had times where things haven’t been perfect either?
Originally published at The Good Men Project.