Are you a brave person? Last week my co-worker and I were having a discussion about something that happened at work. The only way the problem would be resolved was for her to address the problem with her boss but she told me, “You don’t understand, I’m not brave like you are.” I thought what does that even mean? What exactly qualifies someone as a brave person?
Brave (adj.): ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
Am I ready to face and endure danger or pain? No, not really. I’d really rather not endure any danger or pain if I can help it. Pretend you are cruising along a path and you reach a fork in the road. There is a sign with two signs one that reads, “Danger and pain this way” and, “No danger and pain this way.” I don’t know about you but I would absolutely take the “No danger and pain this way” path because I don’t enjoy danger and pain.
Brave is a very fickle word in my opinion and I think it’s different for everyone. I don’t consider myself a brave person. I’m impulsive and act uninhibited in times of crisis or even on a daily basis. I think of it like jumping into a pool. Some people like to dip a toe in or slowly enter the water. I close my eyes, run, scream, and jump because otherwise I won’t go in. I need that momentum to push me in. Does that make me “brave”? I don’t think so. I also don’t really think being brave is really all that it’s chopped up to be. I would chose strength over bravery ANY day and the best part is that strength is innate! You already possess it! Don't believe me, here's 4 ways to access your strength:
There’s great strength in being able to say this is what I bring to the table and this is everything I have, take it or leave it. Surrendering makes you mindful because you are thinking with everything you are. Surrendering doesn't mean giving up, it means wanting what you have. In growth there's always a plateau. Surrender means not fighting the plateau but continuing to play. Surrender yourself to the unknown.
2. What do you want, how do you feel about it, and how are you going to get it
Your brain tells you what you want, your heart tells you how you feel about it, and your gut tells you how you are going to get it. While these things all work independently it's when you get them to work together that you give yourself tactics. I can't tell you how useful this is in those times when you just don't know what to do. Whenever I am at a major crossroads or trying to make a huge decision I close my eyes and write down "What do I want." Then I start writing until I figure out what exactly it is that I want. Then I ask myself "How do I feel about it?" What is my initial visceral reaction to it. And then I attack "How am I going to get it."
3. Access Your Power
Your voice is your power. Nothing drives me crazier than someone apologizing for sharing or for just being present. You have to remove your shame from your truth because it’s your ugly scars, flaws, insecurities, and pain that actually give you strength. I know, it sounds backwards but it’s true. If you bottle these things up and hide then you are only partially surrendering and you can’t partially surrender. It’s all or nothing. I’m not asking you to air your dirty laundry; I’m saying remove the shame from your truth.
A huge defining moment in my life was realizing that I couldn’t run from the things that make me weak. Growing up I experienced a fair share of chaos and I spent an incredible amount of time and energy hiding it from people. I tried desperately to put everything that was happening in my life, the things I was insecure and ashamed of, into a beautiful box with a giant perfect bow. Everything is fine I told myself, this too shall pass. But it was absolutely exhausting and it ate me alive.
There’s a saying we used in school, “bring all of your shit into the room and just sit in it. Don’t try to explain it and don’t try to change it, just sit in it.” Now this didn’t actually mean bring everything you own to class, it’s all of your metaphorical baggage. And being able to allow yourself to do that is incredibly difficult. It is next to impossible to sit in a room full of your peers and say this is everything I’ve endured; here is all my shame, insecurities, beauty, truth, lies, and joy. Here I am. It's not fun but it’s a hell of a lot easier than trying to keep everything hidden. You have to find a way to surrender to the vulnerability and find strength in your flaws because it’s only then that your life becomes bigger than your challenges. It’s only when you are able to surrender that you can impact others.
4. You’ll Never Be Ready
This is my favorite excuse, “I'm almost ready.” Life is going to come at you whether you are ready for it or not. There’s no stretching and there's no warming up. It's not some test you can study or cram for. Sure, sometimes you have to take a step back from things but if you wait until you’re ready you will be waiting forever.
Everyone is brave. When you say to me that you aren’t a brave person you are telling me you are afraid. And so in those moments I hope you remember these words:
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Author: Marianne Williamson
Don’t worry about bravery. Just manifest your inherent strength and your power. There is so much power in just taking that first step to start something. It doesn’t matter how huge or how small the step is, a step is a step. It makes no difference if you have to cover your eyes, run, scream and jump or dip your toe in first, a step is a step.
Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.