We have no greater enemy than fear.
It hems us in, sucks the joy out of life and leaves us with disgust for ourselves. Nothing of importance can be undertaken or achieved without facing, challenging and finally mastering fear.
If it takes great courage to attempt and accomplish things of real merit, it takes even more to be what we truly are.
Friedrich Nietzsche described a threefold process in the maturation of consciousness:
He said that in the first stage, we are like a camel bending down to have hoisted upon us the load of social conditioning, habit and convention.
In the second stage, we are like a lion roaring against the "thou shalts" of society.
Only after we have completed the work of the lion do we become the child: a fully human being, capable of spontaneously, intuitively and competently responding to the world.
The courage of the lion is the courage to find your own path in life. It requires you to examine the conventions, ideals and program of society, as well as the habits and routines you have unconsciously accumulated and determine for yourself what to accept and what to reject.
Though Nietzsche's resolution may be too metaphoric for some, the idea may spark enthusiasm for couragic change.
The measure of courage is reflected in the vision of life we choose and in how much it takes for us to become discouraged.
Too often we think of ourselves as weak candles that can be blown out by the slightest wind of frustration or disappointment.
How much better to say: "I will become a bonfire and dare the world to put me out."
As the lyrics to one song say: "Stand up, write the soundtrack for your life. Life doesn't happen to you, you happen to life."
Be strong and courageous!