Courage is contagious.

My blog has become a space for me to share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences when I deem them important enough. I get drawn back into writing during times when I feel most vulnerable. The timing always seems ironic, but it makes complete sense. Brené Brown, a leading researcher and author in courage, vulnerability, empathy, and shame has found that these emotions are what connects us to others. It brings us to a deeper level of understanding and compassion when we are able to share those experiences and feelings with someone.

I love this quote by her, “Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.” I feel as though if I am able to practice courage and share my vulnerability, I can heal myself, and connect and help others.

This past month has been trying to say the least. I am nearing the end of my semester with many deadlines to come for my honours thesis. Work has been exhausting as this time of year is always our busiest. Beyond work and school, I had a nasty cold that lasted 2 weeks and has now developed into pneumonia and fractured rib cartilage (this is from coughing so much – who woulda thunk it!). I am currently on bed rest and not doing anything school or work-related. I am focusing strictly on getting better and recovering. It is interesting how your body tries to communicate feelings of exhaustion and overwork, but we are so quick to ignore those messages. Those messages are low on our priority list; it’s probably the last thing we attend to after all our other responsibilities. I ignored the signs my body was giving me of mental and physical exhaustion. I pushed myself to work despite being sick and ended up much worse than I had begun with.

A dear friend said to me the other day, “No one can take care of you better than you can take care of yourself.” This really resonated with me. It is true – no one will know your body better than you do, and no one will know how to tend to you better than you do. It’s during times like this when you can and should be completely selfish and do what is right for you. Practice self-care and know your limits. I felt internal and external pressures to keep pushing through school and work when I knew I should not have been doing either. Clearly, I learned my lesson here as my health has suffered tremendously for it.

It is hard for me to say this because I don’t practice it enough, but at the end of the day school, work, and all other responsibilities will be there. If you are not mentally, emotionally, and physically 100%, you won’t be able to perform at your best and enjoy what you’re doing. Being forced to be on bed rest for the week to recover from this lung infection and start the healing of my ribs has been an insightful experience. As much as I think I practice self-care, I definitely don’t do it enough. Life gets in the way and it’s easy to make excuses to push through. We fear missing opportunities or disappointing others when in actuality the only opportunity we are missing out on is reconnecting with ourselves.

I am doing my best to stay optimistic and hopeful during this time of recovery as it is another chance for me to learn, grow, and challenge myself. By the time I get back to the gym and yoga it will have been a month since my regular practices, and I am beyond excited for my comeback. It’s crazy how health complications can set you back and force you to stop your regular routines entirely, however it gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself and come back with more determination than ever.

This is completely unrelated to this blog, but I’ve had so many people visit and read my pieces despite the lack of new material. I appreciate all the people who have shown me continued support and love, and have allowed me to connect with them. It truly means the world to me.

Forever grateful,

Chauf

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