“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
~ Brené Brown
Sometimes, life can be scary.
We all know that. There are so many things going on around us that are out of our control. It’s easy to get swept up in the chaos and confusion.
It’s easy to feel small.
There have been so many times in my life when my fears have towered over me and instead of finding the strength to stand up to them, I cowered away into a safe, dark corner. Meanwhile, my heart was breaking and my spirit was clawing to get out and fight.
She wanted to be big. She always wants to be big.
And, really, the thing about fear is that it doesn’t have to be our enemy. Our fears can be our greatest teachers. They draw from us our strengths and unique gifts. They offer us the opportunity to create (and choose) how we want to be in the world.
But it takes courage. It takes knowing and trusting our hearts. It takes believing that we are worthy of having the greatest life and relationships.
And, it takes believing that we are fueled by a source greater than ourselves, whoever or whatever that may be.
When we are bold and vulnerable, we are supported by that source within us that will not let us fail.
Yes, it might hurt sometimes, but like any great warrior, we can gracefully get back up, learn from our experiences and continue to be brave on our path to discovering our truest, greatest selves.
Here are a few ways of practicing bravery on a daily basis:
Do something that is uniquely you.
Something that pushes your limits and makes you giggle when you realize you are actually doing it.
The situation itself may not be a laughing matter (or maybe it is, walking down the street singing at the top of your lungs while people are watching and pointing, definitely takes courage).
But whatever it is, let it be something that challenges you out of your comfort zone.
For me, being bold means showing my uniqueness while letting go of my fear of judgement and acceptance. This can happen while speaking from my heart in conversations, saying no when I’m expected to say yes or maybe even just wearing my favorite dress when I know everyone else is wearing jeans.
Release a thought or belief that has been holding us back.
This one may take a little more time because these thoughts and beliefs take time to grow and sometimes they look like really big monsters.
One of my greatest demons has been taking to heart the perceived expectations of what I thought others wanted me to be. Whether or not those expectations actually existed was irrelevant because in my mind they did.
Taking away the power of this belief has been (and will continue to be) an on-going process but recognizing it and giving it a voice, has been a huge step in diffusing it.
Eventually, I may even be able to let it go.
Yes, I know, this is a buzzword. But it’s really important.
For me, it means looking inside to the fiery center of who I am. It is the birthplace of my dreams, passions, truth, strength and spirit. When I am being authentic, I feel like I am home.
The way that I connect with my authentic self is through meditation, yoga and being in nature. These are the times when I have the deepest and best conversations with my true self.
I ask questions like, “How can I be of service?” and ” Am I living my greatest, highest good?”
It takes courage to ask these questions because sometimes I find that the answers are not in alignment with my day-to-day activities.
These are the moments when I know I’ve put down my sword and I need to go find it.
This has been one of the most difficult (and bravest) things I have chosen to be in my life but it has also been the most freeing.
Although there is great risk that comes from taking off our masks and exposing the centers of our hearts, there is no greater way to walk the path of the warrior. When we expose ourselves, we give ourselves permission to live completely in the truth of who we are. Messiness and all.
There was a time when I would hide all of my emotions. It was lonely and empty but I knew I would never really be hurt.
Now, I make it a point of sharing my feelings, emotions and state of being. What I’ve realized is that the heart is a great holder of secrets but she’s happier when she has space to grow and expand.
Embrace Ourselves Fully.
We all have our struggles, fears and dare I say, dark sides. And, as much as we may want to fight it, embracing these aspect of ourselves is essential to our growth as humans (and spiritual beings).
When we repress the the things we don’t like about ourselves, we give them more power to control us. They become aspects that create shame and guilt about who we really are.
Accepting our duality, gives us the opportunity to love ourselves fully, with all of our light and darkness.
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Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Andreas Øverland/Flickr Creative Commons
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