While reading this, I ask you to pause. Pause that video you are watching, while scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. That hilarious dog video where the chubby puppy is tumbling on a treadmill will still be there in a few minutes. I promise. Pause that music you have playing in the background. Pause. Take a deep breath. Not one of those like “I’m already breathing, what’s the big deal?” breaths that imitate a sigh, but like an actual one. Where you feel the air come through your nose and expand through your lungs and chest. Then let that air out and feel your body relax. Breathe.
Breathing is essential to life. When we are born, it is the first thing we do. Breathing is the most essential element of living. We breathe everyday, no matter what we are doing, even when we are sleeping. I know that you know this and that is it common knowledge. I want to build off of this though. What if you were actually being brave as much as you were breathing? What if in actuality, you are breathing bravery?
Bravery is essential.
Bravery is essential to life just like breathing. Bravery is the ability to face struggle and pain to confront one’s fear. When we are children, we are faced with experiences that shape the way that we perceive the world. These can be positive or negative. It can be simple, positive or traumatic. As we grow up, we must learn to address fears and challenges head on.
I want you to think about some of your own fears. Maybe some common ones, like being afraid of spiders or heights. I also want you to think of fears that have prevented you from getting to where you want to be. It could be not auditioning for a choir because you are scared you won’t get in, but you love to sing. It could be a fear of commitment, but you want a happy relationship that results in marriage. Fear looks different for everyone. We each have fears that we face on a daily basis. We use bravery to conquer those fears and keep moving forward every day.
Acknowledging that bravery is necessary for everyday life is so important. Bravery and courage allows us to fight our fears and endure the struggles we face, so we can be healthy, safe and happy. When we can acknowledge that we are brave, we have a tendency to take more actions that reflect bravery.
Bravery is a societal misconception.
I truly believe that there is a misconception that only particular people have the ability to be brave. Society has oddly silent restrictions on what bravery is and what is not, which may lead people to believe they have no ability to be a brave person. For example, shy, quiet, “follow the leader”type of people, would immediately be considered the opposite of a brave person. There are obviously so many characteristics that feed this concept of bravery, but these stereotypes of bravery are wrong.
Bravery can not be defined by societal fears or an image of what that person should look like. Bravery is defined by overcoming an individual fear, enduring our own pain to reach our own goals. You decide if you are brave. Anyone can be brave. You are brave. I am brave. The next person you encounter can and has full potential to be brave.
Each time I share my story, that is an act of bravery. The times when I lose friends because of it and kept moving forward, that was bravery. The nights I thought I wouldn’t make it any further because it just hurt too much, but I decided to live. That. That is Bravery. I live bravely. I breathe Bravery.
Do you breathe bravery?
It only takes one act of Bravery.
When I chose to tell my story as a survivor of child abuse, I was prepared for that particular act of being brave. I had to tell the authorities to keep my family and I safe. What I wasn’t prepared for was that it would only be a snowball effect. When you choose to be brave, sometimes the fears and the struggles just keep coming. I was unprepared for the friends I would lose and the mental health struggles I would face. Let’s just say, it feels like the rocks that came rolling down the hill, like in one of those Indiana Jones movies where you set off the booby trap that you thought you escaped.
Although that is completely terrifying and sometimes you don’t know of the struggles you will face yet, I still say do it. Be brave. Face that fear and do not let it get in the way of your health, safety and/or happiness. It will continue to be hard, but if you were brave once, you can and will be brave again. I don’t want to be cliche, but being brave does get easier.
Bravery is Contagious.
In my experience, I have found that no matter what, bravery is contagious. When an individual is willing to be vulnerable and address their struggles head on, it is likely that people around them will do the same. This is the same reason, why people say to surround yourself with people you want to be like. Brave people create more brave people.
I find this most when I am speak to others in terms of trauma. When I am willing to be brave and overcome my fear of speaking about the trauma I faced in my life, I share my story. When I share my story to someone else, they are more likely to also find bravery to share their experiences with me. Eventually, these people then feel comfortable sharing their story with others. This not only creates connections through empathy and compassion, but it is passing on bravery.
Want to Breathe Bravery?
1. Wake up every single day and decide to be brave. Acknowledge that you innately have the ability to be brave.
2. Think of your goals. Write them down. Think of where and who you want to be. You are gonna be that person.
3. Confront your fears. One at a time. Make a list. I check them off as I go. (This could be as simple as getting out of bed today)
4. Ask for Help from loved ones. We do not have to be brave alone.
5. Share your story. Be contagiously brave.
I am breathing bravery. Are you?
– Destinie June –