Growing Stones and Becoming Courageous Like Georgia O'Keeffe

Courage and fear are awkward teenagers at a school dance. When fear steps on courage's toes, courage tends to banish fear to the sidelines with the wallflowers, declaring that fear just messes everything up and should just be hidden and pushed aside.

That might work for a while, until fear takes on a Carrie-type rage, setting fire to prom night.

Fear is a powerful emotion, sometimes more powerful than courage. Embracing your fears can help you step into the most frightening aspects of your life, especially as you get to know yourself on a deeper level. Here's a piece I wrote recently for Psyched in San Francisco, riffing off the Georgia O'Keeffe quotation: “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life, and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”

We are not brave in isolation. We are brave in connection. We are brave when we are honest with ourselves and the parts of our psyches and histories we’re most afraid of and most ashamed of. We are brave when we’re open with others, whether through tangible objects or a felt sense. We can become brave by seeing more of ourselves than we have before, and making room for people, places, and the ways we all shape each other.
— Molly Merson, MFT, originally published 8/22/16 in Psyched in San Francisco

Read more of bravery, courage, fear, and growing stones here, on Psyched in San Francisco: