The late American poet e e cummings is quoted as saying “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”. But what does this mean? And how can having the courage to show your true self actually benefit you?
Follow along as I share 10 reasons that you need to harness the courage to be the person you truly are meant to be.
Let’s dive right into it.
What Does the Quote “It Takes Courage to Grow Up and Become Who You Really Are” Mean?
It’s fitting that e e cummings shares this wisdom, because his poetry was so unique. Who better to understand the importance of being true to yourself than a writer who broke free of the constraints of modern conventions? cummings is known, after all, for shunning rules of capitalization and punctuation.
So what exactly does his quote mean?
Let’s break it apart a bit. For starters, we can see that cummings attributes courage with maturity. If it takes courage to grow up, that means that maturing isn’t necessarily something that automatically happens to us. Maturity is something that we have to have the courage to pursue.
And if we do harness the courage necessary for growing up, what do we get in return? Well, we become who we really are. In other words, we mature into the person that we are meant to be, rather than the person that society wants us to be.
But courage isn’t easy. So let’s look at 10 benefits of why it’s worth it.
10 Benefits To Having the Courage to Show Your True Self
#1 You Will Like Yourself More
It takes courage to be yourself. And courage is hard. So often, instead of being true to who we are, we project a different version of ourselves in public.
We pretend to like things that we hate.
We pretend to hate things that we like.
We put up with behavior from people that we should cut out of our lives.
If you can relate, then you know that all of these false appearances take a toll. The longer we spend lying to ourselves, the more we begin to dislike ourselves. Eventually, we may find that we live in a state of constant self-loathing.
But once we finally harness the courage to be true to our self, then we will be content with ourselves again. We will look in the mirror and like who we see. Eventually, we even learn to love ourselves again.
#2 You Will Attract the People You Want to Be Around
When you live a lie, you find yourself surrounded by friends who aren’t true friends. Work colleagues who don’t help you work. And even family members who don’t feel like family.
They only accept you for what you do. Not for who you are. These aren’t the people who you want to be in your life.
And while you can’t always control who it is that you have to interact with on a daily basis, you can take steps to attract more of the sorts of people that you actually want in your world. It takes courage to be yourself. But once you do, then obviously the people who will begin to flock to you will like you for who you are.
#3 You Will Form Healthy Relationships
Whether romantic or platonic, relationships can be healthy or unhealthy. If you have lived in a way that isn’t true to yourself for years, then you have probably formed a lot of unhealthy relationships.
It’s not always that the people are bad or abusive. Good people can be a bad fit for you just because personalities, worldviews, or interests don’t mesh well.
However, as you act more true to yourself and attract more of the people you want to be around, you will find that they have much more in common with you than your past acquaintances. As a result, whether its a romantic relationship or just a friendship, all of your relationships will be more healthy.
#4 You Will Wake Up Happy In The Morning
I’ll say it: it takes courage to get up in the morning. Climbing out of bed to face the world, showing up to work, dealing with family, and socializing with friendsーit can all be too much sometimes.
But a lot of those heavy feelings that consume us in the morning stem from a deep rooted fear of living the life you are meant to live. Once you face this fear, address it, and overcome it, then you’ll enter every day with joy on your mind instead of dread.
#5 You Will Reduce Your Anxiety
Anxiety is generally associated with feelings of stress and worry. But when it comes down to it, what is worry other than misplaced fear?
Fear of social situations that aren’t actually dangerous.
Fear of a future that is out of our control.
And it takes courage to face those fears. But it’s a whole lot easier to face your fears and overcome your anxiety as your true self than as someone the world wants you to be. Likely, once you change into who you really are, many of those anxieties will simply fade away because they stem from worrying about living a false life.
#6 You Will Increase Your Confidence
While many people are of the mind that you can’t be courageous without confidence, the truth is actually the opposite: it takes courage to be confident.
In other words, courage is a state of mind that you can manifest. In this case, the very act of living as your true self is a manifestation of courage. Every time you face a fear, even in a small way, you are building courage.
It might not feel like it, of course. In fact, often our bravest moments come when we are filled with dread. Think of it like this: if an actor gets stage fright, they have two choices. They can succumb to fear and leave the stage. Or they can walk up on stage because “the show must go on.”
If they give up, their fear will go awayーat least temporarily. But they will also shrink in confidence. On the other hand, if they choose courage and make their way up on to stage, their fear will remain, maybe even get bigger. But they will have gained confidence that will always be with them.
#7 You Will Rediscover Your Dreams Again
Every time you change yourself based on the desires of other people (especially when you know that it’s not right for you) you lose your ability to dream a little bit more.
As children, we have endless dreams of who we want to be, what we want to do, and where we want life to take us. Unfortunately, when we live not for ourselves, but for other people, those dreams die.
It takes courage to say “no more!”. To say it’s time to search after your own dreams instead of living someone else’s. To make your own footprints rather than walk in another’s.
So if you start living your own life today, then you’ll forge the best future for yourself tomorrow.
#8 You Will Increase Your Courage
It takes courage to be different. While the easy way out is to be like everyone else, it’s important to realize that the more you can think for yourself, the braver you truly are.
On your search for your true self, you might end up in some scary situations:
It takes courage to stand up to other people.
It takes courage to be who you really are.
It takes courage to make your own decisions.
And it takes courage to change from your old self to your true self.
In short, it takes courage at almost every single step when you decide to walk your own path. And every time you take another step on that path, you are going to increase in courage. Just as your leg muscles are strengthened on a real walk, your courage muscles will be strengthened on this figurative journey.
#9 You Will Find More Success in Your Work
We all have a need to succeed, rooted deeply inside us. However, when we spend years and years suppressing who we really are, we look back on our life and see that we haven’t found the success that is important to us.
It takes courage to admit that you are stuck in a dead end job.
It takes courage to admit to yourself that you are worth more than you are paid.
It takes courage to leave our cushy job and start our own business.
Whatever your definition of a successful career is, it takes courage. And you know that you will never achieve that success if you don’t change something. Often, shedding the fake skin that has fostered so much false success will help make room for the great opportunities that you are meant to pursue.
#10 You Will Make the World a Better Place
Finally, we all have an inner need to give back. To help improve the lives of others.
But, just like everything else important in life, it takes courage to change the world. It takes courage to make sacrifices for others. And it takes courage to see hope where so many others see despair.
But living as who you really are doesn’t just make you more generous. It also fills the earth with more happiness. You see, people who live true to themselves are happier people. And this planet desperately needs more happy people.
So if you haven’t found the courage to do it for yourself. Do it for everyone else..
Frequently Asked Question About Courage
So far, I’ve shown you why it takes courage to be yourself, but also why it is so important. To close, I want to answer some of the most common questions readers have about courage.
What Does Courage Mean?
Courage is an action taken against your fears. It doesn’t matter what type of fear it is. If you try to overcome it, then you are growing in courage.
What Courage Is Not?
Courage is not machismo. It’s not foolhardiness. And it’s not pride. Contrary to what many may think, you should know that courage requires much more humility and wisdom than depicted in Hollywood.
What Do You Say To Someone Who Has Courage?
As you’ve learned, it takes courage to accomplish anything of value in life. So when you meet someone who is full of courage, know that you have found someone who is also probably very successful in life.
So the thing to say is “Will you guide me?”
We all need mentors in life. So if you find someone who understands that it takes courage to be true to themself, don’t let them go without a fight.