Our first podcast series Agency Unlocked looks at our Core Values here at The Agency Initiative, found here. Ultimately we think that these values make up the components of what it takes to act with agency. I'm taking some time to break down each of the values here on our Blog as a companion to the podcasts. Our third episode in the series continues the discussion of our founding principles introducing our first Core Value, Courage.
So how do we see Courage:
Courage: resolute in each moment and always anchored in love.
Courage comes from the old french word "corage" and is derived from the latin word "cor" meaning heart. When you look at the many usages of courage, you see references to bravery, fearlessness, fortitude, and determination in the face of adversity. It is often used to describe those that are willing to take risks, stand up for their beliefs and face challenges with resilience and strength.
Obviously there is a wealth of emotion in one word here, but something that is missing above is love.
The Latin word "Cor" was used for both the anatomical or real heart and also the metaphysical or figurative heart, including in descriptions of love.
Love is at the heart of Courage. And that makes sense. We see depictions of love in media, stories and everyday life. Depictions of love of another person or an animal, love of a team, love of country, or love of a particular cause.
All of these are in service of someone or something else. But what about in service of ourselves?
We have examples in classic stories like the Ugly Duckling and Cinderella that start introduce self-love to children early. Yet somewhere along our journeys, people find it harder and harder to love themselves. We see (and have experienced ourselves) that the spectrum of self-doubt ranges from specific events and emotions, to negative internal scripts, to fear of failure, to social conditioning and unhealthy comparisons (looking at you social media).
We start to see real life modern examples of the courage to stand up and actually love ourselves in the 60's and 70's through feminist, civil rights and social justice movements which push back against social norms. A great example of this is the "Black is Beautiful" movement in the 60's as a push against Eurocentric ideals for beauty. The concept of self-love continues to grow in the 80s and 90s through the rise in self-help literature. Jump forward to the rise of the internet, people find communities to help express and understand themselves. But that also leads to the era of social media and the infinite comparison of the internal self to the hyper-produced external image of everyone else. We see then the rise not only of the need for self-love, but also self-care and self-acceptance begin to be necessary.
Now, we find ourselves in a post-pandemic world where not only is it difficult to love ourselves, but we are battling what feels like the endless fatigue and fear of new COVID-19 variants, mass shootings, racial tension, economic recession and global war.
We need the courage now more than ever to practice self-love and self-acceptance. That courage comes for a deep exploration of the self. Fear and hate often come from ignorance and to battle against self-doubt or self-hate, we have to explore and understand who we are at our core. This takes practice and time. This takes effort to decide our values and the vision we want for our lives. And even then, it might just be enough to start with self-acceptance which grows into self-love over time.
Tune in to the podcast as we dive further into the concepts of self-love in the service of acting with agency, and explore some of our own journey. The next episode of The Agency Initiative Podcast, Courage, is set to debut Thursday April 6.