On Bravery

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know something is worth it. -C. JoyBell C.

I recently had an epiphany of sorts. Now, I am not one of those people who is  all “I’m so wise (insert: holier than thou), let me enlighten you with all of my wisdom.” But I am going to share some insight, so deal.

So often in life we are stopped from doing things that we really want to do by fear. And when I say really, I mean really. Like what you want to do. But what’s tough is that pretty much no one most people aren’t in touch with their authentic selves. That gives Fear and Insecurity free reign to insert themselves into the cracks where your true motives and values are supposed to be. Now I’m not saying that in order to crush those fears you have to all of a sudden “discover yourself.” Trust me, I’ve waited for that spark, for that flash of brilliance where some voice inside my head shouts, “I’ve got it! This is me!” And as of yet, that voice hasn’t spoken up. This post is not about an epiphany of self–it’s about an epiphany of facing your fears, despite not knowing your precise goals or motives. 

So here it is, my bit of insight: You don’t have to not be afraid in order to face your fears. (I never said I would be eloquent…)  In other words, I feel like most of the time we think that we need to “be strong” and “suck it up” in order to face our demons, in part because of what society has taught us. But really, you just have to walk straight into what scares you the most, regardless of whether you think you can handle it or not. “Walk boldly into that which scares you the most, do the things you think you cannot do, and amaze your own self, brave soul.” If Fear’s thoughts are beating you up (remember, they are not really your thoughts), make up a new counter-thought. 

But here’s the trick: you don’t have to believe it. Not yet. You don’t have to believe that you can do it just yet–just do it. Because if you spend your whole life waiting for a time when you think you are “strong enough,” if you’re anything like me, you will end up waiting forever. We have a tendency of setting a mark of when we will be ready, getting there, and then the mark magically inches forward a little, again and again, until we are stuck in this cycle of avoidance. If you feel like you aren’t motivated (wow, I’ve been there), come up with a mantra that is opposite to what Fear is telling you is true, and repeat it to yourself. Sometimes Fear’s voice is too loud and we feel like we truly believe what he is saying. Accept that that is where you are. Here is another mind-blowing thing that I have learned–you don’t have to believe every thought that you have. Fear’s voice may seem so real, but it is ultimately up to you to believe in it. It is the act of coming up with a counter-thought that really matters, even if you can’t fully buy into it yet. Just take a step forward and think a different thought, because, well, why not? Be willing to accept another possibility. You may not be “in” 100%, but eventually, that thought will become stronger than those of Mr. Fear and Mrs. Perfectionist. 

You don’t have to stay stuck, crippled by fear. And you don’t have to sprint forward, all gung-ho about the battle. But you do have to move. You can still be scared as all get-out, but just taking that step will start to quiet the other voices that are getting in the way of your authentic self. 
And that, folks, is what I have to say about that.

xx

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