“The secret to freedom is courage.” ~ Thucydides
Last month when “belonging” was the topic, I began thinking about how we find courage to choose where to belong and with whom to belong. When I finished writing, the monthly topic had changed to “courage.” So, here I am.
Years ago, I was asked to take a job that I didn’t really think I was ready for, a job that I planned to say “no” to if I were asked. But I said yes. Truthfully, I didn’t have the courage to say no. It didn’t work out well. Eventually I was told I didn’t fit and should go, and I wasn’t sure what to do afterward. Then someone asked me a pivotal question, “Why is it so important to belong?”
I began pondering that question.
Through reflection, I came to realize that belonging is a choice, one I wasn’t being very decisive about. Did I want to belong? And if I did, to whom and which groups would I want to belong? How did I want to give of myself and with whom, I wondered. How did I want to grow, and with whom did I want to share that growth? Where would I find encouragement, and where could I encourage others?
Our 4th principle in Unitarian Universalism is that each of us has the right to a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” In other words, our choices are our own to make.
We grow in independence and freedom when we find the courage to make our own choices. Our experiences are also a chance to learn about ourselves and others along the way. Sometimes defining our choices takes time, but it can be time well spent.
I believe in encouraging the courage to choose where and with whom to belong. For myself, well, yes, I’ve also learned how to set and follow my own boundaries. Since taking charge of my journey, I’m on a much happier path.
~ Denise Benshoof