When we think of bravery we often ponder the heroes and heroines in popular movies and television shows. We think of dangerous battles, jumping from high places, looking evil right in the eyes and defeating it. And that might be one type of bravery, but it’s not the only type — and perhaps not even the bravest type.
Bravery is pushing yourself past the point where you want to give up. It is staying up late talking to a friend. It is standing up to make yourself heard. It is confronting authority, even when it’s safer to keep quiet.
Bravery is enduring. Bravery is waking up knowing that nothing will be handed to you, that things will be messy, that shit will go down — but forging on anyways. Bravery is knowing something might not work out, knowing that pain is possible, but still trying. Still fighting. Still going.
Bravery is believing that tomorrow can be better, even when it seems like you are surrounded by darkness on all sides. Bravery is feeling depression, anxiety, loss, pain and experiencing them without succumbing to them. You don’t have to be fearless to be brave — you just have to take one shaky step forward.
Bravery is knowing that life isn’t perfect, and that it might never be, but loving it anyway. Bravery is loving everyone — even their flaws. It is loving yourself — even your flaws. And people can let you down, and you can let yourself down, but bravery is trying to love in spite of that. Loving even when you feel the hot breath of hate against your neck.
Bravery is trust. It is trust in an age where we don’t trust each other, where everybody seems two-faced, where love seems like something we hear about from our grandparents or watch on Netflix. Bravery is the soft kiss that says, “Everything will be alright,” and the tight embrace that says, “We are here for each other.”
Bravery is giving a dollar when you only have one to spare, and not knowing whether your money will be well-used. It’s trusting yourself into the hands of someone else, knowing that they might screw you over, but choosing to believe the best in people anyway. It’s giving someone the opportunity to fail, putting yourself on the line in the process.
Strength and power aren’t always bravery. Sometimes the bravest things are done with a stutter and tremble. Sometimes the bravest thing is getting out of bed, even when you know the day is going to be hard. Sometimes the bravest thing is cutting off a toxic friend, or helping up a loved one, or paying the bills, or taking your child to work, or pushing yourself one tiny inch out of your comfort zone. Sometimes bravery is just going to bed, ready to try again the next day.
How to be brave? You’re doing it right now.