The more trauma we endure, the sicker we get, the more license we have to be bold. Being bold does not necessarily come naturally to everyone. It certainly is a refined skill to apply it with the effective combination of impact and humility. Trauma, shame, abuse and/or chronic illness can move us into this safe license to be bold. 

Bold, for me, is shown in the form of a sunflower.

  • Sunflowers come in different sizes, shapes and colors, all capturing my attention.
  • The stem of a sunflower is thick, strong and able to withhold the weight on its shoulders.
  • A healthy sunflower has absorbed the sun’s brightness that reaches dark places.
  • “Old” and “dried-up” sunflowers provide nourishment through their abundant seeds — they are far from useless.
  • Those “old” seeds of sunflowers are for planting wisdom in young fertile soil.
  • The roots of a sunflower are deep enough to be loyal to family and friends, yet moveable/pliable enough to sustain the storms of life.
  • Honey bees are drawn to sunflowers to provide us with the sweetness of life.
  • The beauty of a sunflower reminds me that there is beauty in life, in people and the worthiness of our existence.

Sunflower in the garden

Crashing Into Boldness

Have you ever been around someone in pain, long-term debilitating pain? They are not usually politically correct, much less polite. They do not sugarcoat their words. They do not have much patience, for anything. They start to see life quite differently, because of the relentless pain.

Whether our pain is physical, emotional, spiritual or all of them, our boldness starts to emerge in ways we have not seen before while walking through pain. No two people are alike so the process will be different for everyone. Neither are two people at the exact same spot on the journey, so we are all reacting differently as we learn how to grow through this experience.

I can only speak from my personal experience and the experiences of what others have expressed. There is no possible way one human can have all the answers for any other human. Getting feedback from sharing stories, observing others and myself, and complete and utter failure is how I have grown through this. Take what nuggets you may. Many of you share your stories privately with me, keep sharing!!!!

Vintage withered sunflowers in the autumn field

Ignoring Boldness

It is rarely good to ignore the issues that life presents. There certainly are moments for denial but usually it is too destructive and it always comes back up later, usually in a bigger display than expected.

We can only deny so much. When we choose to deny the wrong things, we ignore our boldness that is required to live a full and meaningful life.

It takes time and practice to learn who and what we need to ignore. It takes courage to uncover truth and become bold.


Internal Boldness

Some people tend to internalize their pain. The boldness gets turned inward and the tongue lashing is on ourselves. We beat ourselves up, drag ourselves down, create more blame than what is necessary, and erode our well-being with the misdirected boldness inward.

I have watched myself and others internalize the wrath of the experience of pain and suffering. We loose our light of life while going through the expereince of pain in this manner.

Beautiful sunflower in hands on sunny nature background

External Boldness

Some people are able to turn the boldness outward. The tongue becomes looser, we say things that we don’t mean and are cruel because of our own pain. We take out our pain on others just to get it out of us, in hopes of finding relief. We assume we can fix it all later but the immediate relentless pain must have a relief valve.

If you are a caregiver, family or friend who is there to help for the “right” reasons, you will be able to find some compassion and understanding and do your best to endure and tune it out, and hopefully at times redirect our errors. One of the definitions of love is selflessness, enduring things that are not right, not deserved.

I have heard many stories of those in pain doling out tongue lashings to the ones who are trying to care for them. As we walk through abuse, trauma and/or chronic illness, we know exactly what I am talking about. It gets to be too much and we blow it.

Remembering that life is a growing process. During times of pain and suffering we can grow into deeper maturity and be stronger on the other side of it.

Sunflower sprouts growing


Boldness in Baby Steps

With most things in life, giving ourselves permission to take baby steps as we grow can get us down the road with greater ease and peace. I know that my boldness did not take root securely for a long time. It was a slow painful process to experiment, get stomped on and try again and again. In time I grew into the security I feel with myself to be more bold without so much concern for what others think.

Practice… practice… practice. There are many days I wonder if I will ever fully learn the sweetness of boldness.

Close Up Of Bee On Yellow Blooming Sunflower.( Macro Photo Set )

Sweet Boldness

If “sweetness” does not come from boldness, it might not be worth doing. This one is tricky because the recipient of “sweetness” always depends on the situation. Sometimes we are the receiver of our boldness in finding our strength. Other times the sweetness falls on the other because they are enlightened by our boldness.

At the moment we might feel the sweetness of being bold because we have stomped on anothers ill-gotten behavior towards us. There is SO much to consider before spewing out boldness. Consequences to us and to the other person are worth considering.

When we spew boldness, it usually is done in haste and usually will not end well for either party. While in an abusive situation, carefully weigh the consequences for yourself.

When we rise to the occasion and can be bold for the good of the situation, there may be growth for both parties. In the very least there may be growth for us as we find our power to be who we were made to be through our boldness.

Find the “sweetness” in being bold through consideration for yourself and others. Only you can determine what is right for any given exchange with another human. Practice, practice, practice!!!! I am still practicing this one.

Beautiful yellow sunflower in field and sunshine



License to be Bold

At some point, we have been hurting long enough and deep enough to just know what we know and be willing to be bold about it. We have earned our stripes. We are ready to speak in boldness, with truth, in experience and hope. That is a good place to be.

Sure, it takes practice to get this right. In the midst of using our well-earned license to be bold we will have a few blunders. So what, we all say stupid stuff and we are all not fully understood by others. It is the boldness that will help truth land on open ears, where ever that may be.

When we speak more boldly, our words are fewer and are filled with more truth than how the usual person speaks. Again, NO, we will not always be perfect in this. We will just get it right more than we used to, because of our experiences that have brought more truth to our own understanding.

The experiences and the practice help us earn the licenses to be bold but that does not mean that another soul is going to understand a word of what we say. Be patient with yourself and with others, we are all on the same life journey. It is our different paths that create different perspectives.

Have you ever been around a person who simply gets right to-the-point when they speak? You always know where you stand with them because they speak clear truth. I love being around those kind of people. There is less confusion, misunderstandings, hurt feelings. I feel like it is so much easier to just get on with the task at hand when I am with someone like that. It takes less conversation to co-exist in peace and harmony.

People do not normally speak matter-of-factly. When I do encounter someone with such boldness, I want to know more about them and how they got there. I want to be in the safety of that environment. I want to learn more about when to shut up and when to speak in boldness like they do.

Now that my expectations of others has reached a more realistic standard, I realize that most of us are simply doing the best we can at all times, given what we have at that moment in time. We are all moving through life. Some are growing and learning at a faster pace than others. It is all okay as long as we do not become stagnant, dried up and numb to life and people.


Hope Creates Boldness

Boldness can also come to us as we see hope. Without hope we lose purpose and joy. Now that is the most positive twist to boldness I can imagine. Sometimes it takes something as small as gazing into a sunflower to see enough hope to move on, that in itself is boldness.

As we dip into depths of the license to be bold, we can also rise to the heights that hope can provide. When we see hope, we can speak of hope. When we know that we know that there is hope, it creates a special boldness that shines.

We earn the right to have a license to be bold but that usually comes with much misunderstanding no matter how hard we try to express it. That brings us back to us, what WE can do. We can create a vision of hope which gives us a clearer picture of boldness to share with others. Not an easy place to get to, but a great place to be. I am still striving for it.

Are you amazed when you display constructive boldness? How can you practice safe boldness? How have you found your boldness and your sweet spot? Can you see your boldness nourishing yourself and others?

Maribeth Baxter, MBNC (Certified Mind-Body Nourishment Coach)

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