Being Brave Requires Us To Be Vulnerable
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”– Nelson Mandela
Bravery is not acquired from a distance, but requires moving beyond our comfort zone. The act of bravery signifies bold action, amidst the backdrop of fear and uncertainty. Fear dominates people’s lives because of the perceived consequences. They prefer the comfort of their known environment and understandably so; life is hard. Yet, being brave invites us to reach beyond our safety net, not to plunge recklessly into uncharted territory, for that would be imprudent. For example, recall the last time you summoned bravery in a situation? What skills or lessons did you gain that are relevant today?
Bravery is a call to connect with our deepest wisdom. It requires identifying our protagonist that lies dormant within. Firefighters, paramedics, and soldiers are brave because they face life-threatening circumstances every day. The firefighter attends to the scene of a vehicle accident, knowing in any moment it could engulf the car. Bravery can manifest itself in less noticeable ways. To pursue our dreams despite our family’s protests shows courage, since we are guided to pursue our truth despite their objections. Courage is expressed through our actions and words.
To live a rewarding life on our terms instead of being dictated by other people, represents daring bravery. Similarly, voicing our disapproval when we are wronged, underscores the willingness to be treated with respect. It is no surprise that public speaking is considered a leading fear for many. Yet, for professional speakers, being on stage is an opportunity to indulge their talents and genius. They are moved by passion and purpose rather than dictated by fear. What is frightening for some is exhilarating for others. Sometimes the greatest acts of courage emerge from the smallest deeds.
Fear Is An Illusion Dictated By Your Past
“Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.” – Aristotle
Bravery is apparent when we express our deepest convictions. This generates authentic communication with others, instead of being guided by their opinions. Life offers multiple opportunities to choose bravery or endure defeat. Contained within those moments, we discover the depth of our being. Humans are emotional creatures, vulnerable to hurt and rejection, especially when their self-worth is at stake. Bravery allows us to overcome our inner Demons and emerge with our self-esteem intact. I’m drawn to the words of author Brené Brown who writes: “The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.”
Ultimately, when we abide by our innate truth and deepest conviction, we needn’t be concerned how others perceive us. For example, fear is an illusion dictated by our past. Many equate failure with lack of courage because it compromises their self-worth. Equating self-worth to failure is futile to our long-term happiness. We must avoid associating failure to a lessened self-worth because the two are mutually exclusive. Bravery emerges when we acknowledge our weaknesses and insecurities. Vulnerability, despite its association, is not a sign of weakness. It is a symbol of courage, because we express our authenticity by revealing our weakness. In doing so, we invite those we trust to honour their authentic nature through a shared experience. Are you beginning to see that bravery can express itself in many ways in our life? It requires aligning with our highest intent and being vulnerable.
Equally, to admit one’s mistakes by expressing: “I’m sorry” shows our humaneness. We deepen our connection to others, allowing them to be less stoic and more genuine. Bravery is a continued commitment to venture beyond our comfort zone when we’re reluctant to do so. As we do, we confront our fears instead of remaining safe. Being brave from a safe distance does not reinforce courage, it only strengthens our fears. We must navigate the path from weakness to bravery and discover a new world that underpins our strengths and inner wisdom. Knowing this, give some thought to ways in which you can express bravery in your daily life? What minor act of courage can you undertake to strengthen your commitment to yourself? Try it and note how you feel. When we take the bold step to express bravery in our life, we will see that bravery was there all along; waiting to make itself known.