I never really considered myself a brave person. Growing up I was always very shy and reserved. I didn’t like too much attention put on me, and I certainly didn’t like to ruffle any feathers. Confrontation of any kind was my biggest enemy, and I always sought to follow the rules and get through life relatively unscathed. I thought because I held so many of these traits, I just simply wasn’t a “brave” person.
I used to feel that in order to be brave, I had to do “big” things. I had to be notable, or different or revolutionary. I thought that only heroes and extraordinary people could really live up to the definition of brave.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a period of time, you’ll remember that part of my New Year’s ritual is to choose an intentional word for the year. I try not to over think it, and allow whatever word organically comes to mind be the one. Interestingly enough, my word is “brave”. The word that I never really felt I could own or call mine, popped into my mind, and I just knew I had to allow it to be a new theme of my life. I put every effort and intention I have into honoring the words that I choose for each year, it means a lot to me, so since I have chosen “brave”, I knew that brave was my word for 2019, but deep down, I had no idea how I was going to live up to it.
What has been happening to me so far this year is, with the intention of being brave, simmering in the back of my mind, I find myself acting, speaking, and presenting myself differently. I notice that when I’m faced with a challenge, or difficulty, or an uncomfortable moment, I face it, and move into it rather than shy away. I speak up more freely and boldly about topics and issues that mattered to me, and I share deeply personal stories from my life. I am making more aligned decisions, and I say no a whole lot more than I ever have!
When bravery shows up in my life, it isn’t grand. There is not a hugely heroic moment or courageously defining circumstance. It is simply me having the courage and the confidence to be completely myself, after so many years of being afraid, and backing off. It is me honoring my own desires rather than trying to shift to fit someone else’s mold. It is me speaking my truth and not being afraid of the opinions and judgments of anyone around me. And this feels really, really powerful and nice.
This first six months of 2019 have taught me that bravery doesn’t have to display itself in large, heroic moments for it to be very real in our lives. In fact, it’s those small moments where we are presented with the option to be a little braver, that really make an impact. I believe that cultivating bravery, is a lot like strengthening a muscle: it requires practice, effort, and diligence. It can feel hard at first to make a brave choice or decision, but the more we do it the more comfortable it gets. The more I recognize bravery within myself, and honor what feels brave for me, the more empowered and emboldened I am to continue to do the brave things and my brave muscle is getting stronger.
The great, amazing thing about all of this is that bravery can show up in completely unique ways in our lives, and it is all equally as meaningful. So, I hope this week’s blog encourages you to examine your own relationship with bravery, and look within yourself to see all of the places you have been brave, but maybe you haven’t given recognition to, and inspires you to exercise YOUR bravery muscle.
Remember, that bravery comes in all shapes, sizes, and circumstances, but here are some ways that bravery shows up in my life…
Bravery is listening to the whispers inside your self that tell you when to speak up or take action, and actually do it.
Bravery is making a personal decision that you know is for your own best interest, even if no one else understands why.
Bravery is saying no to people, places, and circumstances that make you feel bad about yourself.
Bravery is having the courage to disagree.
Bravery is the courage to tell the truth.
Bravery is taking responsibility for your actions, and knowing that it’s okay to make mistakes.
Bravery is owning and honoring exactly who you are in each and every moment of your life.
Bravery is releasing the need to have the acceptance and permission of others.
Bravery is not being afraid to ask for what I want.
Bravery is knowing that something is hard, and doing it anyway.
Bravery is honoring the calls from within your soul.
Bravery is the ability to change your mind.
Bravery is being okay with letting people down.
Bravery is apologizing when it’s necessary.
Bravery is loving yourself, even when it’s hard.
In what ways will you honor yourself now and be brave? If you feel called, share it with me in the comments. I can’t wait to read!