August 14, 2015

Become Braver in 2 Simple Steps. {*A Little Work Still Required.}

I'm brave

Bravery is not about being fearless. Life is filled with fear, and we can never completely get rid of it.

In fact, fear plays an important role in life. It teaches us about risks and threats, and it teaches us about ourselves. Fear allows for bravery. If we were never fearful, we could never be brave.

Being brave is about facing fears and moving forward regardless of those fears.

Being brave is about taking risks.

Being brave is about putting ourselves out there.

Being brave is about being vulnerable.

I never thought I could be brave. I was an extremely shy child. I cried every day when my mom dropped me off at preschool. I eventually stopped crying, but the shyness and fear stayed with me.

I was terrified of new people. Throughout grade school, I kept out of the spotlight. I wanted nothing to do with performances, sports or even being called on in class. I spent most of my time trying to hide in the background and just get by.

I grew up too afraid to ask for anything I wanted. I would freeze up if someone wanted to take my order at a restaurant and I would never answer a phone call. Things got a little better in college, but not by much. I dropped out of a public speaking course twice before even giving a single speech.

This lack of bravery spread throughout my life as I tried to hide my depression, anxiety and an abusive relationship from those around me. These were my secrets that I was not brave enough to share or do anything about.

Over time, I decided that this was not the way I wanted to live my life, so I decided to be brave and I started really living life and loving it. This has helped me become passionate about helping other people become brave as well.

Here are two steps we can all take to become braver today:

1. Be vulnerable.

Stop hiding everything and allow people to see the real you. Share your fears with others. This means talking about your feelings if something makes you uncomfortable and asking for what you need even if you’re afraid of getting rejected.

You might be wondering how being vulnerable could possibly be of benefit. Society teaches us to cover up our fears, to be shameful and guilty about our shortcomings and to appear perfect. However, being vulnerable allows for real connection in life.

Being vulnerable allows us to step up as leaders and show others that it’s okay to be true to themselves. Along the way there will be naysayers, who will take bravery to face, but people will also relate to you, support you and even admire you for your bravery to put yourself out there.

While simple in concept, being vulnerable can be hard to conquer. However, baby steps count! For more examples look up #100daysofvulnerability on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. (Check out mine here!)

2. Try something new.

Fear keeps us in a box. Fight that box and try something new each day. Going somewhere new, trying a new hobby, or talking to someone new are all good ways to practice bravery.

One of the scariest, and therefore bravest, things I did was to check out new places on my own. Once while in Boston visiting my sister, I had the entire day to explore the city while she was at work. I felt terrified of going to shops and stores by myself in a new city, but I didn’t want to be stuck in her apartment all day. I went outside and found a cute little Italian restaurant and ordered delicious pasta and champagne. I sat by myself and watched people walk by. It felt incredibly powerful to be able to do something so outside my comfort zone. Who knew eating pasta and sipping on champagne could turn me into a superhero?

It may seem simple, but when is the last time you went somewhere unfamiliar alone? Oh, and without staring at your phone the entire time? Putting yourself out there in a new situation without the safety blanket of a familiar face (or completely hiding out in your phone) can be extremely scary, but also rewarding.

Whatever you decide to try, make sure you push yourself out of your comfort zone at least a little bit. And baby steps count!

These two simple tricks will change your whole life.

It all starts with choosing to be brave. That is my simplest trick and it is where it all has to start. Right now as you’re reading this, you can decide to be brave and start this journey.

So what’s it going to be, brave one? What are you going to do to be brave, right now? Comment below on how you’re going to be brave today.


Author: Danielle Yeager

Editor: Evan Yerburgh

Image: Flickr

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Danielle Yeager