Bravery; a word that we all know but often feel distant from.
We think of brave people as those who do the extraordinary against all odds. We imagine that bravery is reserved for the few chosen souls who fear nothing and look fate straight in the eye and do not back down.
We hold bravery up as an ideal we strive for, and yet, how many people feel truly brave in their everyday lives?
If we think of bravery, courage, and heroics as something reserved only for those, who know what to do and act without hesitation or worry, then we set ourselves up to live lives that are distanced from being described as brave.
We tell ourselves, “I’m not brave because I have anxiety, I tremble at the thought of speaking my mind, I worry constantly, I hate taking any kind of risk.” But can we be brave and still deal with all of these foibles?
I have worked with many brave people throughout my career. Children coming out of trafficking, addicts going into rehab for the 27th time, mothers who get out of bed when they have no else to lean on and the world looms large above them. None of them would immediately say they were brave, but they are.
They are brave because they keep trying, even when defeat is a possibility and even when the journey has no end in sight.
So how can we embrace being brave? How can we hold close this term and relate it to our everyday lives? How can brave be a word we identify with?
Here are three tips to help remind you to be brave in your everyday life.
1. Remember that brave people are scared and flawed.
Whether the brave people you admire are friends, family, celebrities, or historical figures, they are all also human. They make mistakes, they doubt themselves, they fail.
Sometimes they even get knocked down and cannot, in that moment, get back up. But one day, step by step, they do.
It is in that act, the act of moving forward that we are all courageous.
2. Bravery isn’t all or nothing.
Being bold and brave doesn’t mean you feel or act this way all the time; maintaining that kind of energy would be nearly impossible. We can be brave in some moments and timid or overwhelmed in the next without discounting what we have achieved.
Perhaps today, you speak up for yourself at work or you wear the outfit that you love, but were told doesn’t “fit” you, but then in the next hour, you need to close your office door and change back into your comfy clothes.
You are still brave even if your moment of power was fleeting.
3. Bravery is about choosing to keep trying.
Bravery is just not reserved for people who get medals and parades. Some of the strongest and bravest souls to ever walk the earth will never be written onto the pages of history. Their influence may forever stay within their community or household.
Though they may not have the reach that a well-known figure has they continue to impact their world but getting up each day and being the best version of themselves that they can be and loving themselves even when they cannot do that.
By identifying our micro-choices in our day to day existence as brave we can acknowledge just how radical it is to live and love in light of so many hardships and obstacles.
The next time someone tells you that you are brave to accept the compliment and maybe, pay it forward.