Courage may be defined by those who live outside the bubble as opposed to those who live in it. I like to compare stepping out of the bubble to "wading out into the water." When one wades, they don't thrust themselves in, but slowly move deeper into the flow of things. They wait until they feel safe, defining a path and moving forward. Indeed, people need to be aware of their surroundings as they move forward, picking up cues from the environment. Stepping out of the bubble is not an impulsive act. It is a slow deliberate decision. The good news is that stepping out eventually lead to a new confidence in utilizing skills. Stepping out of the bubble leads to an integration of new abilities into one's lifesytle. The courage to move away from the confinement of the psychological bubble opens a person to endless possibilities for growth.

Regardless of conflicting voices, differing rules, and ambiguous perspectives, acting courageously is pretty simple if we dare to trust our heart and mind. M. Scott Peck, renowned psychiatrist and author, jokingly used to say, "When you make a decision, make it when you are sober and make it again when you're drunk." What I believe he meant was that making choices involves both our emotional instincts and our rational mind. If we use both styles of relating, and the answer is consistent, we are probably doing the right thing for us. This process takes courage, because we have no set agenda to guide us. We can't rely exclusively on our church, someone's rules and regulations, or our family and friends to assist us. No external opinions replace the need to figure out what it means to do the appropriate thing for us. The choices are endless and ours to make.

Sometimes we pay a price for doing the courageous thing. There are those who will assail us for making courageous choices. For some, jobs are lost, partners withdraw, and friends disappear. Some people won't like the choices we make. The byproduct of the decisions we make can affect others in positive or negative ways. We must learn to choose. There is no life, no love, without risk. It's the fear of living, of loving, that binds us.

James P. Krehbiel can be reached at or

Author's Bio: 

James P. Krehbiel is a licensed professional counselor and nationally certified cognitive-behavioral therapist practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona. He recently publiished a personal growth and development book entitled, Stepping Out of the Bubble: Reflections on the Pilgrimage of Counseling Therapy. He is a contributing writer for He can be reached at or