I think a lot about courage. In fact, I have thought about courage since I was little. I would always imagine scenarios where I would have to do something courageous and come through. Usually, I would play these parts out with my dog in the yard, saving her from something or protecting her from some monster. She had no idea what I was doing but she sure as hell loved to lick my face after I saved her. I think about her almost every day. For me, looking back on it now, it took courage to let her go. We tried to keep her alive for as long as we possibly could, but I could only see the pain in here eyes because she wasn’t the dog she used to be. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about her. Almost every time I go home I walk out to the back yard where she is buried and say hi. I sit down on the view where she would always lay down and ask her how she’s doing up there in heaven. There is no doubt in my mind that she was an angel sent down to me to guide me through my childhood. Not taking anything away from anyone else, but she truly was my best friend. One day, I will have another dog just like her, and will go to the ends of the world to make it happen. For right now, I know she walks beside me every day, looking up ready for our next journey

Courage. What takes courage? I think as I have moved on throughout my life so far, courage is actually redefining itself. What I mean by this is that it’s rarely about going and saving someone from death or running into a burning building. People face choices of whether or not to display courage every day. I have had my moments of cowardice, and they turn my stomach when I think about them. I like to keep those moments close to the chest because it reminds me of who I don’t want to be. I have also my moments of great courage. I think, at least for me, having the guts to do something that I know is going to be scary and potentially emotionally and physically draining applies to what I am talking about. It’s about having the courage to do what you know is right in your heart.

There will be moments in your life where you ask “I wonder how much more of it I can take.” I remember having a discussion with my roommate a year ago about what is my purpose of even trying anymore. If one thing, after the next, after the next keeps on happening, why am I even putting myself in that position anymore? He just looked at me and said, “But that’s not what your made of” and that shut me up pretty fast. He is right, that’s not what I am made of. No matter how bad it is, you have to pull through. It’s torture. You will have your moments. We all stray from ourselves at some point or another, but if our moral compass is pointed in the right direction, we will all get there. You won’t be able to do it on your own. There are a handful of people I trust in unbelievably who have helped me from the beginning. Without them, I don’t think I would be as happy as I am right now. That’s what good friends are for, to pick you up when you are down. And I definitely have great friends. For me to put myself in other people’s hands is hard for me. I like to know that I have some control over my life. But as there have been plenty of moments of friends crying in my arms, I have to give them that same chance. So far, they have had it. But there are parts where I am taking this journey on my own.

I have ventured into some pretty deep places that I never visited because I was scared. Amongst the darkness, I also found great light in things I never thought I would. Sometimes confronting the things that you have hidden away is the best thing for you. Bring them out into the light and dust them off, they aren’t as bad as you thought they once were. But make sure to bring a flashlight and check the batteries, you might be looking around in the dark for a while.

Give yourself the chance to be courageous.
 It’s hard. Going through days when a lot of your downtime is barraged by emotions is one of the hardest things to do. There is no way to avoid it. All you can do is pull out a chair and allow these thoughts to be poured out until they are in the open. However, there are those moments where that is always taken away. Hold onto those dearly. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing the right thing. That takes faith. Being blindly guided by your heart really can be hard. But we all have to take that leap of faith sometimes. Like I wrote a while ago, we must trust in the path. What makes my path difficult is that I can’t really see what’s going to happen, but like any path, that is usually the case. What I can do is walk down that path and just trust that there will be more path around the bend. Paths aren’t like mountains where you know where you have to go and possibly how hard you have to work to get up it. Paths, can go on, and on, and on….and you never know where they might lead you. I don’t know where I am going, and while that’s scary, it’s also exhilarating. If you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.

No matter what you are going through, have the courage to face it in full. Put your butt on the line today, and face those fears head on.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project