When we think of the word brave, we imagine people conquering Everest, quitting their jobs to pursue their passion for writing a novel or disappearing into the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. In short, we imagine these huge life-altering gestures. But bravery takes many forms, and we aren’t here to tell you that you should ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ because that’s a slogan, it’s not advice. We are here to help you forge your own path of bravery and find new bite-sized ways to shrink the impossible down to the possible and to take a new look at what we all mean when we use this word ‘brave’.
Stand Up for Yourself
One of the bravest things you can do in this world is to be an advocate for yourself. Standing up for yourself isn’t easy and even just doing it for a second takes great courage. Many of us women have learnt that anger is a negative emotion and that self-depreciation is kind of funny. But this behaviour can cause us to shrink, give away our power, and lose precious self-esteem. Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean not admitting when you are wrong, it just means mustering the courage to protect yourself, to recognize how you want to be treated, and to speak up when that is happening. It doesn’t need to be a fight; it just needs to be said aloud.
Ask for Help
Asking for help is another super brave move. Asking for help is scary, it taps into one of our deepest fears; the fear of being seen and the fear of rejection. Not only is it a brave move to acknowledge you are human, but it also encourages you to use your voice and to accept that not being able to live up to perfectionism isn’t going to bring a hellfire of judgement down on your head. Whether it's needing an extra pair of hands at work or being desperate to talk a problem through, asking for help invites a glimpse of vulnerability which, when shared, is something that helps connect you to other people.
Stand Up for Others
Being an advocate for other people is truly hard. We have all cowered away from confrontation or stayed silent when someone needed us to speak up. This lack of using our voice often leaves us feeling ashamed and weak. Cheryl Strayed says; “Believe in the integrity and value of the jagged path. We don’t always do the right thing on our way to rightness.” It’s never too late to speak up for those who need it, particularly if you have the privilege to do so. If you know that someone is being treated inherently wrong then start to use your voice and question that behaviour.
Be As Authentic As Possible
As mentioned, rejection is one of our most primal fears. It comes from our tribal days, those times when maybe if we did something that went against the tribe we would be expelled and then have to face the hardship of solo survival in a very harsh world. Now, we have to relearn how to be our authentic selves rather than simply finding ways to fit in. Being authentic means tapping into yourself, finding your true voice, and being brave enough to nurture and act on your own set of beliefs and values. It means saying no to the things you don’t want to do, learning to trust in your intuition, and dealing with people in a true and honest way rather than saying the things you think they want to hear. While we are born authentic, it isn’t something we practice every day and sometimes it takes daily practice to get back to ourselves.
How were you brave today? Share your tiny acts with us in the comments and let's inspire each other.