When I was little, I used to think that being brave meant maybe being a little scared. And by scared, I just thought that meant being slightly uncomfortable. Now as I grow in confidence, I’m stronger and better able to address some of the fears I’ve been holding onto my entire life… and I’ll tell you what: being brave doesn’t look as cool as it does on television.
When I’m terrified but doing something anyway, I look anything other than composed — quite the opposite, actually! My hands are shaking, I’m crying, my face has turned into a mess of expressions, liquified makeup, and tears and I’m probably breathing like I just ran a half-marathon (and if you know me at all, you know that didn’t just happen!).
We’ve all heard the quotes about “courage not being the absence of fear” and “bravery is trying something new” and so on and so forth. All of those things sound great in theory, but when you’re actually confronted with a fear, all you want to do is run. But that moment — that one moment where you could run but you don’t — is the key to growth. That’s where changes are made and barriers are overcome. It looks and feels awful — but not forever!
As humans, we’re used to not doing things that would cause us pain or potentially put us in danger, but the problem with many of our fears is that the danger is only in our minds. That spider over there might not actually be seven kinds of poisonous, that boardroom is not going to throw tomatoes at you during your presentation, and seeing as how the edge of the cliff is 15-feet away from you, you probably won’t fall of the side of it. Being cautious has its place and time, but so does being brave.
And here’s the secret to courage: after a while, you begin to get more comfortable with that which used to terrify you and pretty soon, you’re best friends with it (or maybe just very casual acquaintances).
How are you facing your fears?
Image Credit: Andreyah Portilla / Flickr