I’ve been a little nervous/worried lately about getting things done before the baby gets here and as a result have been creating ridiculous to-do lists. I’m feeling very disorganized but at the same time, I’m not really sure where to start with getting organized.
Part of me is coping with impostor syndrome- what do I know about being a mom? For that matter, what do I really know about anything? I go between feeling scared and insecure to Christmas morning x 100000 excitement levels. Which brings me to the topic for today: being brave.
The funny thing about bravery is that it’s actually pretty subjective. You’d think that we’d all generally agree when something is brave, and for the most part we do when it comes to larger acts of heroism. It’s the smaller daily things that may not seem very heroic from the outside looking in. Maybe it’s reaching out to another person, giving a presentation (no matter what size the group), signing up for that first 5k…even telling someone “I love you” can be an act of bravery.
A lot of the personal development reading/podcasts I’ve encountered over the years have come back to the idea that in discomfort lies our greatest growth opportunities. You’re not going to get faster if you run the same pace all the time. You have to push yourself, even if it’s just a little bit further every day, if you want to make some progress. And trust me, the “in the process” part can get pretty uncomfortable.
For me, these every day acts can vary. When I was running, it was usually signing up for a race or trying a new speed workout once a week (I hate doing speedwork, but it did make me faster). Last week it was sharing this blog on my personal Facebook page and letting my friends know it existed. Sometimes it’s a matter of setting a boundary with a loved one, or picking up the phone and making a call. Admitting you were wrong about something can be brave, too.
When I think about bravery, one of the biggest things that comes to mind is vulnerability. Reading Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection a few years ago was like cracking open my brain and realizing that in order to really connect with people, to care about them and let them care about me, was being vulnerable. Before, most of my friendships and relationships were formed on a carefully constructed way I portrayed myself to others (see meme below). I’d let people in, but only so far (see below). This book was probably one of the biggest catalysts of change for me (and if you have that sort of problem/want to learn more about embracing the imperfect parts of life, I’d highly recommend it).
So to boil it way way down: doing something different –> discomfort –> growth. (It probably goes without saying but “doing something different” here doesn’t include negative, harmful, or illegal stuff). Besides the discomfort, the other thing about growth that we/I typically shy away from is the messiness of it all. My example of this is cleaning my room. Sometimes the most effective way to do this is to empty drawers and the closet, make a huge mess, and put everything back together. If you’re trying to grow- be it spiritually, emotionally, or physically, things might get a bit messy as you rebuild. When it gets really hard, I remind myself that it’s only temporary (good AND bad emotions/situations cannot last forever, after all), and that the results are worth it.
If I could go back and give 2013/14 me a hug, I would. Those were the years of growing pains for me, and they laid down the foundation of who I am today. But damn did it hurt sometimes. Maybe it was a little bit of bravery that got me through. All I know is, if I can do it, so can you (no matter what your goals are). Do something tough and celebrate every victory, you just might surprise yourself. (And no, you don’t have to go skydiving on a whim to prove your bravery to anyone 🙂 )
What do you think bravery is?
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?