I’ve never considered myself a brave person. I’m very non-confrontational. I don’t like heated arguments with people (although I love a friendly debate) and I would likely back down if threatened at all.
It has been said, however, that the essence of courage is not in never feeling fear, but rather in acting in spite of it. Fear is a primal, very human emotion, and not something that I think is possible for me to truly distance myself from.
I’ve come to learn that it’s possible to still be brave while being terrified, not because of this supposed immunity to the effects of fear, but because I can feel confident that I can weather whatever stress and danger I may face, and still come out okay on the other side.
That may sound a little melodramatic. After all, I’m not exactly dealing with anything life-threatening. I’m not responsible for the lives of many others, either. For me, as with many people around the world, I’m sure, it comes down to the little things.
Public speaking. Introducing myself to a stranger. Going out by myself. Being honest about my feelings. Going on dates. Making independent choices at work. Sharing my writing with people.
It comes down to wanting these things enough. If I never take risks, if I let my fear get the better of me, I’ll end up running away from all the things that give my life meaning and joy.
I’m only young, though. That’s something said to me over and over by friends, family, acquaintances and strangers. I do have a constant sense of urgency when I’m going about my business and people often tell me I don’t have to rush things. I’m often trying to get as much done as possible.
I’m starting to realise, though, that it’s not about cramming in everything I can. It seems to instead come down to making space for the things that matter. That can require a bit of bravery in itself. I find myself saying no to hanging out with friends sometimes because someone is in a tough place and needs my time. I find I need to cut down my computer gaming to help out around the house or even just practice a bit of self-care.
Being brave ends up being not about facing up to the scary things sometimes, but it can also be about choosing what’s right even when it may be the last thing I feel like doing.
I only get one life, and I’m limited in how much I can fit into it. I’m learning now that bravery is about choosing things now that will work out better in the long term. I find that this difficulty is part of what makes life fulfilling. It’s what helps to make it worth living It’s never easy. If it was, where would the achievement be? Would I really be that fulfilled.
I think I know the answer now.