Don't fret, Dear One. Not when your heart has so much to say.
There's more for you here than you know how to ask for and more inside than you know how to see. Don't try to put into words just yet. There's much healing to do before that. For now, just ask, "How can I stay open? How can I keep myself whole and true?"
Hi, I'm Leslie Ralph, author of There, I Might Find Peace and How to Have Your Back: Simple Instructions for Loving Yourself through the Ups and Downs of Life.
I’m a psychologist who writes for people seeking tenderness and healing, the ones who want to bring the light back into their lives and love themselves unconditionally.
After 10+ years specializing in meeting anxiety with mindfulness and self-compassion, I've learned a few things about fear and courage. Maybe you can relate...
Giving ourselves the space to answer life’s call with a whole heart and earnest steps is the bravest thing we could do. This might make you bold and brazen, all spotlights and hurdles and crossing oceans. Or it could lead you to the soft and slow of life, art and tea afternoons, naps by the fire, and puttering in the yard.
It’s just as brave to do less as it is to dive in, for who’s to say what is less and what is more when we’re talking about mining the force of life? (Only you.)
The bravest thing answers that little voice asking what if...What will they think or say, what if it all falls apart, what if I'm wrong, what if I fail? with Then what? What if it works? What if I grow? What if I must? And what if it doesn’t matter in the end? I’m here for the doing.
I've heard that voice from the inside out telling me, “Come, this way.” I’ve heard myself answer, “Not yet. Not me.”
It would be so brave to say, “Yes.” To know my heart so well that betraying it was no longer possible.
I’ll need to let go of the rules I've thought into solidity if I am to be so brave. I must dismantle the stories I’ve relied on and close off the hiding places I’ve wedged myself into. Ready or not, I must walk with the fear that asks me not to move.
It’s compelling to just not and avoid the things that feel threatening. To tell the story that keeps us small. To live by the decisions we made when we were afraid.
Letting go, leaving be, yes (and an honest no) aren’t as easy as they sound. The ease we desire can feel...unfamiliar when it arrives, even when we'd cleared the path ourselves. Space can seem exposed. Light, too lightweight, too insubstantial.
What will we fill our hands if they don’t hold on to certainty or control?
This is part of our suffering. I know this, but... what if I might miss even the troubles weighing on me? The habits weighing on me? The heartache weighing on me?
How would the ground know where to find me without all these things weighing me down?
Still, as sure as the leaves exchange their green for gold and learn to fly away, I have flown, too. I have let go, changed, forgiven, stepped up, faced my fears, and surprised myself a thousand times before.
We've all been afraid of something. We could all probably name something we're afraid of now. Fear is human. (So is courage.)
Our fears make sense when we learn how to listen. We want to know we're right because we want to know we're safe. We want others agree because we want to see how we fit in.
Connection, worth, identity. That's what those fears are riding on...and trying to protect.
It's in our desire to prevent mistakes, avoid suffering, and remain connected that we're tempted to push ourselves deep into boxes that never fit, telling the stories of what happens when you dare stretch beyond their walls.
You see, Dear Friend, the paradox we all need to remember is that it’s okay to be afraid. It's our response to fear we need to be aware of.
Fear is only ever trying to keep us safe, but when we respond to it with more fear, more force, or worse still, shame, our attempts at protecting ourselves can end in losing ourselves. What a tragic loss that is.
Here are just a few of the questions I found online from people feeling lost, aimless, afraid.
We want to answer our heart's call and step so bravely into tomorrow, but..
The steps involved in growth and transformation will naturally and necessarily disrupt your sense of who you are, what you want, and how things work. But many of us have trained ourselves to avoid that vulnerable part of change, leading us away from the very things we desire. Then, we judge ourselves for it.
And then we say things like, "I don't know what I want. I'm not brave enough to do that."
It's a vicious cycle.
This doesn’t happen because we’re weak or stupid, by the way. It happens because the process of change and being honest (with yourself or others) can be painful and scary.
So, the question is, what stories are you telling?
How do you deal with the scary parts of living?
A Class for Courage is a self-paced, 4-week online program all about healing your fears, transforming your fear-based patterns, and moving toward your desires aligned with true courage.
The material in these courses is based on my years of working as a psychologist and teaching positive psychology, mindfulness, and self-compassion. And these are the steps I've taken in my own life to call upon a healing, loving energy and feel clear again.
A Class for Courage is broken into 4 weekly lessons. In A Class for Courage, we’re covering...
Align your heart with the guiding principles of the courageous path.
Learn the 6 guiding principles of what I call the courageous path, as opposed to the fearful path. Each principle is a powerful lesson in itself. Each reminds you about who you are, the nature of fear and courage, and the truth about living courageously.
In this lesson, you’ll learn...
- The purpose of fear and why it isn’t the problem.
- The needs and desires we all share. How are you meeting yours?
- How to spot fear-based thoughts (and what to do when you do).
- The meaning and feeling of authentic courage.
Tie the whole lesson together with the lesson 1 class materials:
- Courageous Heart Meditation for channeling the bravest, most loving part of you. It’s a great one to use when your self-worth is low and your fear is high.
- Love Called Me Forward audio recording. It’s a story about fear, love, and stepping into the unknown.
- Tapping for Your Courageous Heart Emotional Freedom Technique video and script. An empowering EFT exercise for aligning your heart and mind with the guiding principles of the courageous path.
- A 59-page digital workbook filled with exploration exercises and quizzes, thought-provoking journal prompts, and courageous affirmations to put the guiding principles of the courageous path into practice.
Watch a preview from lesson 1:
Heal your fear with love.
Embody the spirit of healing as you examine fears and emotional pain. Discover how attention and action flow together to create either healing or suffering.
In this lesson, you’ll learn...
- The healing attitude that relieves suffering and transforms our fear-based habits.
- 4 signs that you have a fear that needs healing. Do you have one?
- How to be loving with yourself even when facing fears, pain, and the habits you’d like to break.
- How to make sense of the things you fear. Imagine understanding even your most confusing fears.
- How to see more good in yourself and the world.
Tie the whole lesson together with the lesson 2 class materials:
- Mindfulness Meditation for feeling accepting, open, and awake. Look at yourself and your surroundings through a fresh pair of eyes.
- Where You Are Whole audio recording. It’s reflections on becoming whole and remembering your true legacy.
- Tapping for Self-Compassion Emotional Freedom Technique video and script. A compassion-based EFT exercise for moving forward from where you are with compassion and grace.
- A 49-page digital workbook filled with quizzes and healing exercises, deep-dive journal prompts, and loving affirmations to bring the spirit of healing into your everyday life.
Watch a preview from lesson 2:
Look for positive possibility.
Restore truth to the myths of the fearful path and bring peace and strength back to the stories you’ve learned to live by. Envision what you want and how you want to experience life as you practice new beliefs about yourself.
In this lesson, you’ll learn...
- The myths that keep us living in fear and how to restore them to truth.
- Exercises for releasing your need for control, perfection, and certainty and changing the mindset that keeps you stuck in defense mode.
- Exercises for uncovering and healing the fearful stories you’re telling yourself.
- How to create new, courageous beliefs about yourself.
Tie the whole lesson together with the lesson 3 class materials:
- Courageous Vision Visualization. An immersive visualization with rich imagery and affirmations for supporting yourself through trying times.
- Words for Waking Up audio recording. A poem about starting again and telling your new story with love.
- Tapping for Courageous Vision Emotional Freedom Technique video and script. A powerful EFT exercise for healing painful memories and fears through your own loving presence.
- A 71-page digital workbook filled with myth-busting quizzes and exercises, journaling prompts for changing the stories you're telling, and affirmations of new beginnings to help you reveal the myths in your fear-based beliefs and start telling a new story.
Watch a preview from lesson 3:
Transform your patterns, transform your life.
Define your own kind of courage along five patterns of action and reaction. Start by building awareness of your patterns now and assessing where you need the most healing. By the end, you’ll have a plan for breaking free of procrastination, resistance, and overdoing it and making the positive changes you’ve been waiting for.
In this lesson, you’ll learn...
- Patterns of action and reaction that can move you toward or away from your desires (and how to align them all with courage and love).
- How to shift your focus from what scares you to what you desire.
- Exercises for feeling whole, engaged, and hopeful about life.
- Strategies for making the changes you’ve been waiting for, even if you’ve been putting them off for the “perfect time.”
Tie the whole lesson together with the lesson 4 class materials:
- Courageous Transformation Meditation. Surround yourself with light as you awaken the strength, purpose, and freedom in you.
- What Lies Beyond These Walls. A story of self-forgiveness, letting go, and emerging again.
- Tapping for Courageous Transformation Emotional Freedom Technique video and script. An uplifting EFT exercise for believing in yourself as you take courageous new steps.
- A 44-page digital workbook filled with pattern-revealing quizzes and transformation exercises, prompts for getting real and getting ready to take action in a new way, and transforming affirmations for defining your courage and transforming your patterns.
Watch a preview from lesson 4:
Each weekly session of A Class for Courage comes with:
- Class lessons in both video and audio format. Choose how you learn best. There are over 5 hours of lessons in the class!
- A 40+ page digital workbook filled with courage-building exercises, thought-provoking journal prompts, and powerful affirmations. Put the lessons into practice right away!
- A guided meditation audio recording designed to reinforce the week’s lesson and align you with your natural courage.
- An inspirational spoken word recording for a boost when you need it. Surround yourself with supportive messages.
- An Emotional Freedom Techniques video and manual to infuse your body and mind with the week’s lesson.
Plus, you get a bonus ACFC Illumination Kit when you enroll. Inside your Illumination Kit, you'll find audio recordings and a digital workbook to help you set your intentions for this experience.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does the program work? Is it live?
A Class for Courage is self-paced, not live. The class lessons and class materials are all online. When you enroll, you’ll get instant access to an Illumination Kit and all your class materials. I'll also send a weekly email guiding you through the class lessons. You can follow along for the four weekly sessions or take them at your own pace.
Does my enrollment ever expire?
All of the materials are downloadable so you have lifetime access and can complete them at your own pace. When you enroll, you'll also have access to your class members area, where you can listen to/view and download current course materials as well as receive any future updates to class materials.
What if I fall behind during the 4 weeks?
A Class for Courage is designed to be self-paced. The program is broken up into four weeks, but you can take however long works for you. If you ever fall behind, remind yourself of your intentions when starting this program and find your way back to a schedule that feels good to you.
What is Emotional Freedom Technique? Do I need experience with this before I begin?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, also referred to as tapping) is a healing technique combining acupressure, imaginal exposure, and cognitive and narrative therapy modalities. It has decades of research behind it and has been rated as an empirically validated treatment by the American Psychological Association. I've included an EFT video with each lesson of A Class for Courage to help integrate the concepts from the lesson into your new story. You don't need any prior experience with EFT to benefit from these videos.
Do therapy or coaching sessions come with this program?
Right now, no. But I will be checking in by email as we move through the course. I am a licensed clinical psychologist and have over a decade of experience practicing psychotherapy, but this program is not intended as a replacement for treatment. If you feel you need more specific support for a psychiatric condition or are in crisis and would like to enroll in A Class for Courage, I recommend using it together with professional therapeutic support.
People just like you are finding courage with my tips and exercises.
Try A Class for Courage for a full 60 Days, Risk-Free
This is not another hack, and you can't rush inner peace and strength. That's why I want you to try the program out and give it time to sink in. If the lessons and exercises in this program don't leave you with more clarity or courage after 60 days, let me know. If you didn't love it, I insist on giving you a full refund. No questions asked.
Life's too short to spend it lost, confused, or wishing it away.
We can pour so much energy into chasing what we think we should want and looking outside of ourselves for peace, happiness, and confidence only to wake up one day and realize we still don't feel the way we thought we would. Or worse, full of regret for the life unlived.
I’ve discovered that I can live a truer life. All of us can. And it starts inside.
Your uniquely extraordinary life has been calling you. Do you know how to listen?
I'll show you how in A Class for Courage.