At one time or another we have all felt like a misfit. Feeling rejected or “different” can happen for various reasons. Yet when we are authentic, honest and true to ourselves we set an amazing example that allows others to become more courageous in this way too, opening the door for greater celebration of equity, diversity and inclusion.
The path towards intimacy is extremely complicated these days. You’re free to take up any form of social closeness you like — sex with strangers, staying celibate, married for 20 years or never. We’re living in an era of a la carte connection. With all barriers of cultural repression torn down, we should be happier and closer than ever. Yet, our relationships are vaguer and less committed than ever.
Social courage is the bravery to share your full self with another person, not just your physical self. The free love ideals of the 60s played a cruel trick upon us; we thought our overbearing sexual restrictions were an obstacle to deep connection. We were wrong.
In a culture that’s never been more sexually free, the depth of our relationships has recoiled like a flower blooming in reverse. With no restrictions on our social interactions, they sometimes become meaningless; if I can have everything and do anything, my choices no longer matter — the outcome is always the same. Instead, our culture has created new restrictions on emotional intimacy. Don’t be too clingy, don’t chase commitment too obviously, don’t love too openly. When every song on the radio is an anthem for sexuality or superficial adoration, intimacy is the new taboo.
What would it look like to have the courage to bear your whole self, to be seen as you are in all your vulnerabilities, without one hand on the door handle?
Social courage is not giving in to the expectations of other people. It means risking disapproval or punishment because of not conforming to what others believe or think or how they behave.
Being true to you. This month, practice having the courage to be your true self unapologetically.