Reflection from the book Dancing the Dream written by Michael Jackson (1992)

Courage

It’s curious what takes courage and what doesn’t. When I step out on stage in front of thousands of people, I don’t feel that I’m being brave. It can take much more courage to express true feelings to one person. When I think of courage, I think of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. He was always running away from danger. He often cried and shook with fear. But he was also sharing his real feelings with those he loved, even though he didn’t always like those feelings.

That takes real courage, the courage to be intimate. Expressing your feelings is not the same as falling apart in front of someone else, it’s being accepting and true to your heart, whatever it may say. When you have the courage to be intimate, you know who you are, and you’re willing to let others see that. It’s scary, because you feel so vulnerable, so open to rejection. But without self-acceptance, the other kind of courage, the kind heroes show in movies, seems hollow. In spite of the risks, the courage to be honest and intimate opens the way to self-discovery. It offers what we all want, the promise of love.

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