One of my favorite Buddhist teachers, Pema Chodron, tweeted this recently:
"If you ask people whom you consider to be wise and courageous about their lives, you may find that they have hurt a lot of people and made a lot of mistakes, but that they used those occasions as opportunities to humble themselves and open their hearts."
Courage is the willingness to open your heart even when you have been hurt, have made mistakes, have hurt others, have hurt yourself. Recently I have been in touch with some old friends from college, which has left me thinking about who I was then and who I am now; how much I have changed, and how the essence of who I am was there even back then. I said to a friend today,
"If I could have a conversation now with the young person I was back then, what would I want her to know?"
'Love is there even when you can't see it or recognize it, perhaps in an unfamiliar or unexpected form; your birthright loveability and goodness is there too, underneath all the hurt and grief and sadness and loneliness. Trust that the universe is conspiring for your well-being. In other words, have faith and keep opening your heart.'