Have the courage to be true to yourself

Posted by Samantha on July 25, 2011 in Character, Courage |

The principle of right living is not about legalism or adhering to the letter of the law.  Rather, sound character is all about being true to yourself.

Robi Sonderegger, Australian clinical psychologist 


Two days ago I was returning to the UK from Granada in Spain.  A series of red traffic lights and an elderly taxi driver conspired (!) to make us later than we would have liked for our bus linkup to the airport.  With two minutes to go before the bus was due to leave, we handed the driver our tickets.  These tickets weren’t for this bus he said.  They were for next one.  We couldn’t get on.

My brain quickly figured out that we’d miss the plane if we had to wait until the next bus.  Then it noted that we therefore had to get on this one.  There were seats available.  We had tickets.  The bus hadn’t left.  According to my brain, there was no discernible reason why we couldn’t get on the bus.

It struck me as a case of unreasonableness on the part of the driver.  The day before we’d actually been able to buy our tickets on the bus, doing the same journey in the opposite direction.  I’ve lived in Spain so I wasn’t surprised by any of this.

I came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was to ignore the driver and get on the bus.  If he freaked out and threw me off or called the police, my brain swiftly noted that we could always get a taxi at that point (for 170 euro as well as the 20 for bus tickets!) and catch our plane.  So I was fairly calm.

And then, ignoring the letter of the law as well as the driver, I got on the bus.

He exclaimed, and argued a bit more with my husband, before giving up and gesturing to him to just get on.

Reviewing this situation later, I thought it was an interesting example of how I try to live my life according to the Serenity Prayer, which I was first introduced to as a school girl but didn’t really understand until recently:


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference.


Getting on the bus took courage.  If things had unfolded so that I needed to get off and call a taxi, I would have accepted that with serenity.

I am grateful that today I have a modicum of wisdom.

And the character required to listen to myself and not others.


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