What pops into your head when you hear the word brave?

Most people, I think, would think of someone who travels the world alone or dares to skydive or bungee jump. They’d imagine a person who stays up all night, having dangerous adventures. They’d think of a fearless leader who stands tall and keeps his head up while he leads a whole country.

These are great examples of what it means to be brave. That is being brave, there’s no denying it. But, those aren’t the only things that make a person brave.

”Being brave means to know something is scary, difficult, and dangerous, and doing it anyway because the possibility of winning the fight is worth the chance of losing it.” —Emilie Autumn

There are simple things we do every single day that make us brave.

You may not know it, and that’s why you consider yourself a coward or someone who isn’t confident or brave.

It’s really important to know that you can do courageous things—things that scare the shit out of you. (Because you can do those things, believe it or not.)

I want to point out those things to you because I want you to realize how strong you are.

We walk around life, thinking that we’re not strong enough to do the things that we want. We think that fear will easily stop us. There is nothing more wrong than that.

You are incredibly strong. Like, crazy strong!

I want you to know that you’re capable of so much.

Just think about it, you have overcome so many things that you didn’t think you would. Think about the last problem that you went through.

I’m sure it was emotionally tiring and stressful, and you asked yourself how the hell am I going to get through this?

And somehow, you did! Maybe you’re scarred or hurt, but you’re alive and you’re so goddamn lucky to be alive. That alone deserves to be celebrated.

Here’s a list of things that make you brave.

1. BEING YOURSELF

Being yourself is one of the bravest things you can do. It’s sad that it’s not just a norm, but unfortunately this is how it is.

Being who you are, not wearing a mask, and not adjusting yourself to be someone you’re not is strong of you because you risk being made fun of. You risk being insulted about something that you truly are, yet you walk out every day with your head held high.

A lot of people don’t laugh as loud as they want, they pretend to be meaner than they are, and they walk with their heads down in fear of being ridiculed.

Going out into the world and being who you were meant to be, who you strive to be, that’s brave.

2. BEING HONEST

Being honest is brave because a lot different reactions can come out of the truth. You could be loved and hugged for telling the truth or you can end up loathed and with one less friend.

To clarify, I don’t mean spew out “honest” words when someone pisses you off and you want to make them furious too.

I mean, if you have feelings for someone and you tell them, that’s brave because you could be rejected. But, you push that feeling aside and you do it anyway.

Being honest is realizing that your uncle is an alcoholic and you know that he has to hear it so that he can get better. Maybe he’ll get pissed, but maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll thank you and go to rehab and become a better man.

You never know what’ll come out of the truth; that’s why being truthful is being brave.

3. INITIATING CONVERSATIONS

Starting conversations can be scary. Like, really scary. You can risk a lot if you iniate an important conversation—rejection, failure, annoyance.

Getting up to tell your boss that you want a raise, getting off of your chair to talk to the person you think is gorgeous, telling your parents that you’re gay, telling your best friend that she needs to get her shit together, all of these are incredibly brave.

If you can start an important conversation, risking it all, you’re brave.

4. LETTING GO OF TOXIC PEOPLE

Sometimes, your friends, the people you hang out with every day, become toxic people. Their jokes become a little less friendly, and they do things you’re not comfortable with.

It’s uncomfortable to let go of people you’ve known for years, even just months, that you’ve become close with, but if they’re not good for you, you’ve got to let them go.

5. DOING SOMETHING KNOWING THAT YOU COULD FAIL

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” —Mary Tyler Moore

Doing something where you know that you risk “failure” is inspiring. Starting your own business, publishing a book on amazon, taking a test, all of these things are brave.

Maybe you think I’m exaggerating with the last one, but when I was in high school, and I didn’t think there was a chance that I’d pass a quiz, I wouldn’t try. I wouldn’t even read the questions, I’d just circle random answers.

(Don’t do this, though. Sure it was funny at the time, but I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to college.)

Oh, look another one! Deciding that you don’t want to go to college to pursue something different is frightening, so the fact that you might want to do that because your passion is bigger than your fear, that’s fucking brave.

6. MAKING MISTAKES

When you mess up and you accept it with your head held high and without putting the blame on someone else, that’s brave. You risk being laughed at and being seen as—gasp—a human who’s not perfect, but still you just keep going.

It’s even more brave when you can look back at your mistakes and learn from them. And even still, braver when you share those mistakes with someone else so that they can learn form them.

7. NOT GIVING UP

It’s so easy to quit. It takes no difficulty to give up when you see no results or when things get too hard.

That’s why when you look at your fears and demons in the face and say, “Leave me the hell alone, I’m gonna keep going,” it’s (you guessed it) brave.

It’s strong of you, and it motivates others to do the same because going through with things is much harder than just saying, “Nevermind.”

8. PUSHING DOWN FEAR

”I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” —Nelson Mandela

I guess this one’s obvious, right? This is basically the definition of fear. But, I wanted to give you some examples of it. Small ones, because like I said, I want you to realize how brave you really are.

  • Talking to your parent/guardian about your mental health
  • Doing the thing that scares you the most
  • Going to a therapist/psychologist because you want to get better
  • Going in for your first interview
  • Applying to college
  • Getting your own apartment/living alone for the first time
  • There are a million more, but I can’t name them all, can I?

You can push down your fear, I promise.

9. DOING WHAT YOU LOVE

Maybe going after your dreams isn’t really a norm in your family—God knows it’s not a norm in society.

That’s why saying no to Harvard to go to a performing arts school instead is brave. That’s why quitting your job to open your own coffee shop is brave.

When you’re crazy enough to chase your dreams and do the things that make you happy, you’re amazing.

It doesn’t even have to be as big as those examples. It can be as small as joining your school band even though your friends make fun of you for it. Or it can be submitting your art at the library even though you have no idea who’ll see it.

Like I said, it’s just about doing the things that make you happy.

10. WAKING UP

It’s a sad fact, but waking up everyday is incredibly brave. You never know what you’re going to face and what’s going to hit you, but you get up anyway. The world is filled with problems and people are cruel sometimes, yet you choose to live.

This is something that should be celebrated because there are so many problems that we go through and so many hardships we have, but we never give up.

We keep going because we believe in ourselves that much. We believe that we will always be okay no matter what. How great is that?

HINT: Really fucking great.

So, I beg of you.

Be grateful for yourself. Respect yourself. Honor yourself. Love yourself.

Because you’re really goddamn brave.

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