Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

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Recently, I was asked, “What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?”

I didn’t stop to think about my answer. It rose from my heart without hesitation.

“Apologize to my daughters for deserting them.  Being a mother is a sacred trust, and I violated that trust — and while I know I was in the throes of an abusive relationship, I am 100% accountable for the pain I caused them. It wasn’t about asking for their forgiveness, it was about forgiving myself — and those two things, apologizing and forgiving myself, took great courage and self-compassion.”

That was the first part of my answer. The woman who asked the question (she wanted to put my name forward for an award) wrote back for clarification. I responded:

“I didn’t want to apologize. I wanted my excuse to be — I disappeared for four months because I was so broken and lost in that relationship. The truth is, I was broken and lost, and so were they. They needed my apology more than I needed my excuses and in apologizing, I accepted my accountability and set myself free to forgive myself.

In forgiving myself I opened myself up to forgiveness which allowed love to flow freely within me and between us. Apologizing and accepting my accountability for causing them pain allowed me to step into their anger and pain, rather than resist it because I feared it would break me. It gave me the space and courage to be compassionate with myself when I felt overwhelmed by the sorrow and grief of all that happened to the three of us through that relationship. And, it opened me, and the both of them, up to the joy that comes from letting go of the past so that we could move forward through LOVE.”

I do not believe I would have recognized the power of forgiveness, or even known the power of being accountable, had I not gone through the Choices Seminar in 2006.

When I went through the program, I thought I was in pretty good shape – at least emotionally. I’d just spent three years rotor-rooting to the core of my being, healing from a relationship that almost killed me.

Fact is, I was doing okay. But if better is possible, is good good enough?

For all the richness and joy in my world, I didn’t see that there could be so much more if I was just willing to trust in the universe and let go of the mask I wore that said:  I’m okay. Everything’s under control.

There were many parts of my life that were ‘under control’. And then there were the parts that weren’t.

It was those parts and my desire to control them that were creating the pain, the irritation, the unease. Yet, because I was wearing my mask, I was hiding the truth from myself — my daughters were still hurting and because I was so determined to make everything ‘okay’ and to keep it all under control, they didn’t feel safe expressing their unease.

Along with the simple tools Choices teaches to live a better life every day, I found space to love myself unconditionally; wounds, warts and wisdom.

That means, loving the mother who was so lost and broken she deserted her children. It means, loving the woman who was abused and the woman who had the courage and commitment to grow through the pain of the past to embrace wholeheartedly her beautiful, joyful, life, and self, today.

When I learned to love all of me, including the broken pieces and the not so pretty ones too, I set myself free to live this one beautiful and awe-inspiring life without fear of never being enough.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

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Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

8 thoughts on “What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

  1. Allowing the world to see your shadow as well as your brilliance is truly brave. I only know the palest pencil sketches of your journey but I hope when you look at then and now your heart wells up with pride and admiration for the woman you have chosen to become, worked at becoming and continue to become. You are an inspiration.

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  2. The bravest thing? When we ‘put it out there’, running the risk we’ll be dismissed, rejected or ridiculed – at school, at home, in relationships, in business. Nobody wants to be ‘the fool’ and yet when we say our piece, stand our ground and reveal our true selves we are always amazed by how brightly we shine and how much better everyone sees us for who we really are. And then, it becomes a habit, not a scary threat.

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    • I think for each of us Mark ‘the bravest thing’ will be different. Ultimately, when we each shine brightly, we illuminate how courageous we can be when we stop letting fear hold us silent in the darkness.

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  3. Your vulnerability exudes immeasurable courage. I’m struggling with allowing myself to be vulnerable right now, I can’t seem to get past the fear of it. I started a blog seven years ago and shared my story with strangers on the internet. It served me to let go of a things in my life that, as you wrote, “almost killed me” but then, I was bullied and ridiculed for it (both online and in person), by someone that I knew in the real world who found out it was my blog. That made me feel guilty, and ashamed, of sharing my story and I deleted my entire blog and started a new one but it hasn’t been the same since. The fear of setting myself up for ridicule is paralyzing! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve sat at my desk and wanted to write but the words I want to write are hidden behind a wall I’ve built to keep them safe inside of me because I am still too afraid to write them down… I admire your bravery.

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    • Hello dear Mari, I am sorry that happened to you and that you felt so bullied you deleted your entire blog.

      I knew a woman who used to say really horrible things about me because of that relationship — another friend told me all the other woman said and how she was going to ‘set her straight’. It’s not necessary, I told her. Her opinion of me is a reflection of how she sees the world and is not about me. I do not need to defend against other people’s opinions of me because in doing so, I give their opinions power over me. The person whose opinion is most important to me of me, is my own. And I can only hold myself in good esteem when I let go of being afraid of what other people think of me.

      You write with such truth and honesty — I hear in your words your heart’s calling to be seen in your true beauty and light. In acknowledging your fear, you are setting yourself free — and that my friend is a brave act.

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  4. The bravest thing I have ever done? Get in touch with my father who had disappeared over 30 years ago. http://wp.me/p7y86t-I And thank goodness, I did. Else I would not have been able to make peace with him before he died. For his sake just as much as for mine.

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