Recently I went to a dance meditation with my girlfriends.
As I walked toward the entrance of the venue I saw a familiar figure walk ahead of me. I thought, “Oh f*ck, is that him?!” As I lined up a staircase to get past the ticket check post, I realised that I was about to come face to face with the ex of all exes—that special ex after whom you go on a soul searching journey because the break up was so damn hard and messy and confusing.
Yep, this special ex, it was him standing on the staircase with his new girlfriend. I stood there with my friends waiting for my body to react and have a meltdown. I felt numb.
As the evening progressed, it finally came to that awkward moment when I was nearly face to face with him. I knew at some point we had to acknowledge each other’s presence. Then the unthinkable happened. Never in a million years did I imagine that the man I loved for more than two years and who swore that he loved me deeply too and with whom I had once picked names of our future babies would just walk past me as if I did not exist. He even paused for a second to say hello and wink at my friend who sat next to me! And me? Apparently I was invisible.
I felt sad and I asked myself the question; do you want to stay or leave? I chose to stay and face this…whatever this was. I was tired of running away from rejection, humiliation, self-doubt and reality. Even though I felt outwardly calm, I felt the tremors of all these emotions as the evenings events unfolded.
After I had a little cry and I hugged it out with myself, I got up and stood tall. I felt like a hero.
Why a hero, you might ask? What is so heroic about this event?
When we talk about heroes, about courage and being brave, we often think of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other famous illustrative people from history. I have been in few situations recently where I’ve been asked who I am inspired by or who my hero is. Guess what my answer is? Me. Yes, I am my hero and my inspiration.
In today’s society everyday acts of heroism and courage don’t stack up or even get recognised. How can they? The bar is set so unrealistically high! We glorify braveness in a way that an everyday action that required a lot of courage on our part is often forgotten or not acknowledged. Is it any wonder that as a community we often live in shame assuming that we are weak?
I am brave. My mother and sister are two of the most bravest women I know. I have brave friends and I often see brave actions from ordinary strangers.
It is easy for our ego to diminish simple everyday acts of courage by comparing them to glorified versions of bravery.
Life can be hard at the best of times and unexpected, unplanned events can happen to all of us. Sh*t happens! The important lesson to learn from these hard moments is that, if we choose to, these moments can become an opportunity to rise up and become our own hero. These experiences can set in motion a personal pattern of courage.
Imagine a world where people operate in this manner and are recognised for it.
In my case I became my own hero by choosing to rise up despite the rejection and sadness I felt. I rise up every day whether it is to myself and the voices in my head or to other people or situations. With every experience I have developed a new pattern of courage.
I have listened to my body, made many mistakes and I was messy at times, but I did it anyway. Bit by bit, one day at a time I rose up in my own eyes.
How do you develop a pattern of courage and become your own hero?
1. First and foremost acknowledge that you are scared and don’t know what to do.
This acknowledgement is very powerful because it allows your body to come up with a true and creative solution to the situation. Not acknowledging this truth results in us doing what we have always done before which might very well be to run away or to do something else that is just another repeated action or pattern from the past.
2. Listen to your body.
After number one, this step is natural. Check in with your gut because this is where you will feel it the most. Then check in with your heart and finally listen to your mind. It is important to check in with all three as they all need to have a say in helping you rise up.
Sometimes there may be alignment and all three may have the same answer. When there is alignment just do it, rise up. No questions asked.
When there is no alignment and the three answers are different, walk away or remain silent as this is the bravest action in this situation.
3. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
When faced with fear it is natural and easy for the voice of our wisdom to be lost behind our beating, thumping heart and overridden by the sensation in the gut. This is normal. In such situations, our actions can sometimes be very primal and reflex-based. It is natural to react. It is OK to give in to our primal animal nature (as long as there is no harm done to yourself or others involved).
4. It is OK if it is messy.
Standing up for ourselves and for others can sometimes be messy. We may not sound as eloquent and clear as we’d like to and our actions may not be as graceful and swift as we’d like them to be. This is OK. What is important is that we do it anyway. This is courage.
5. Silence is brave.
Most of us love throwing a good punch line and want to have the last word. Sometimes though being silent and maintaining stillness in a situation can be the hardest and the bravest thing we can do.
6. Walk away with courage.
This is difficult but the most important step in developing courage. Most of us believe that it is brave to stay and work hard on our jobs, relationships, friendships and situations that do not serve us and cause us pain. We believe that remaining in a state of struggle is courage. It is not. Choosing our health, our heart and wellbeing and making ourselves a priority requires a lot of courage and it is the most important step to rising up and becoming your own hero.
The end outcome of choosing to rise up is always growth and peace. When we choose to rise up, there is an instant change in our energetic vibration, in our body’s chemistry and in our thought process. This far exceeds the effects of therapy or any healing technique. In fact this is our natural, universe given ability to heal, reset and rejuvenate our life.
Everything I have written here is based on my own experience of standing up and being brave for me. It’s only after these steps I am now able to help others with my company and my art.
Before this, yes, I did help others occasionally and I was a hero too sometimes. But I could not sustain it because I simply wasn’t inspired by myself and did not consider myself brave.
I feel it’s important for us to realise that our simple everyday actions require a lot of courage and that they matter.
Here’s to a world full of simple everyday heroes.
Author: Deepthi Amin
Editor: Katarina Tavčar