Bravery, it’s a big word. At least I thought it was. Then I noticed during my time in Texas that people were using it often and directing it at me. At first I was kind of shocked by it, but then I realized it’s all in the way you perceive it.
To me, bravery meant performing a huge, courageous act like fighting in a war or escaping from an oppressive regime. All the things Hollywood movies are made of. That’s what bravery meant to me.
Then I began to understand it in a much smaller, simpler way.
I moved to Texas alone with my dog Aspen. I left behind my husband, family, friends, a beautiful quiet home, and all that was familiar. I had a handful of friends there but none of them lived closed by and were often occupied with the demands of their daily lives.
So it was just Aspen and I.
“Alone?” was the first thing people would say to me when I first met them. The second thing people would say is “You’re so brave”, often followed by “I could never do that”.
Before that point I had never thought of it as brave. I just thought of it as something I wanted to do. Had to do. Since I had left New Mexico 13 years ago I had this aching in my soul to return to the Southwest. One weekend last May I visited Austin and following my intuition, I decided I was going to get a place there for a few months. I loved my husband and my family, so it was never about abandonment. It was about following my heart. It never seemed brave to me.
Then finally I got it. People thought I was brave because I followed my gut. Was it scary? Yes. Was it lonely? Of course. But I did it anyway.
That’s the place where many of us get stuck. We want to be brave, but let the big F word, FEAR, override our instinct. Going past the fear is a brave act for many.
A part of me did not completely feel comfortable with this “brave” label. It made me feel separate from other people. The truth of the matter is that so many of us are brave in our own way.
Here’s just a few personal acts of bravery I see everyday:
1. Creating art, music, or a business, just because you love it.
2. Being honest with a family member about how you really feel.
3. Saying yes to a new experience, no matter how big or small.
4. Saying no to people when your plate is actually too full.
What are your acts of personal bravery? Share them here…