I used to not be a very brave person. I grew up a quiet, sensitive child with a passionate heart but without the confidence to live out the adventurous life I daydreamed about regularly.
Over time with experience and age this changed. I went from being a shy kid who had a hard time standing up for herself to speaking my mind and going for the life she never thought she could have. Even though I’ve come a long way since the days I used to let my insecurities guide my life, I still have my moments where I doubt myself. Bravery is all about finding the things that scare the shit out of you and doing them anyway, so knowing fear is what stops me from getting what I want I try to relish in it, instead of run from it. Here’s what I do a little bit every day to scare myself.
1. I ask myself what my life would look like if I weren’t afraid. It’s the things I didn’t say, the risks I didn’t take, things I wanted to do but didn’t think I was physically or mentally strong enough. I think about all those times in the past and I think about what I could do now and what my life would look like if I weren’t afraid to go for the things I truly want.
2. I figure out my bottom line – and I go for it. Whether it’s in work, my relationships, my health, etc I take the time to reflect on what drives me, what keeps me up at night, and what Im most passionate about. I make lists about my goals, what’s important to me, and then I think about what I could do differently or more passionately to achieve those goals or make my life more fulfilling.
3. I take small steps. When I think about a large goal I want to achieve it can be intimidating at first. It’s so easy to think, “That’d be nice but I’ll never be able to do it.” and then start coming up with of all the reasons why I can’t get what I want. Instead, I break down my big goal with smaller, more attainable goals, and I think about how I can get there.
4. I let myself take the risk of being wrong. I learned that it’s often the things we don’t say that can create the most impact. Sure, I might be wrong, I might say something stupid, or I might not get what I want in the end – but the experience of taking a risk and learning along the way teaches me how to better prepare for the future.
5. I open myself up more to the people around me. I have a complicated background and a lot of vulnerabilities and for a long time I never wanted to talk about them or let people in. When I began to share my story and the things that have made me who I am, it strengthened my relationship with others. I learned with better communication comes better understanding.
6. I give myself permission to fail. I remind myself I don’t have to get things right on the first try. I can fail at something or realize a dream I thought I wanted isn’t what I want anymore and that’s okay. I don’t have to be perfect at everything and sometimes after experiencing something, I realize it’s not for me.
7. I write down the moments that made me feel the strongest. I think about the times I did something that made me feel alive and better than ever. I think about what that feeling was like, what it was like to overcome one of my fears, and I remember the courage it took to get there.
8. I fall in love with one small part of myself every day. I try to channel my insecurities into strength, although I admit it isn’t always easy. Instead of telling myself what I don’t like about myself or what needs changing, I remind myself of the things I do like. Sometimes it’s something as simple as taking pride in making a really kick ass homemade meal, sometimes it’s just loving the freckles that line my cheeks. When you discover something in your everyday life you can channel into positive energy, you create more confidence and ease in the way you approach life.
9. I trust my ideas and my intuition (even when it feels like no one else understands me). It doesn’t really matter to me if someone tells me one of my ideas is crazy or if they don’t understand it. I’ll take their advice or insight into mind when thinking about things but ultimately, I trust myself to make the right decisions.
10. I let go of trying to control every aspect of my life. When I start overthinking and overanalyzing something, I stop myself before I start spinning out of control with my thoughts. I take a moment to breathe and relax. I realize not everything is within my control and I focus on the aspects that I can control or influence in some way.
11. If relationships become unhealthy, I leave them. This is not easy but there is only so much giving you can do in a relationship before you realize you’ve completely self-sacrified yourself for someone else and now you’re completely drained and exhausted. I’ve learned some people just aren’t worth sticking it out for and as much as you love or care for them, sometimes you need to walk away when you realize they’re nothing but a negative impact on your life.
12. I embrace change instead of trying to run from it. When something doesn’t turn out the way I want it to I don’t dwell on the negativity of the moment. I take a bit to acknowledge what’s happened, reflect on the situation, then I think about where I can go from here and use this change to flourish in a different way.