Brave. When that word is said what do you think about? Perhaps a soldier at war? Perhaps a police person in a difficult situation being brave? An everyday person stopping a would be criminal? All brave circumstances and all brave people at that moment. How about people who each day wake up wishing they didn’t, forging ahead into a world that doesn’t understand them? Or people who have been hurt to their core and yet smile and take steps to regain their footing? Or people who need a change, and take the opportunity to move away from everyone and everything they know, to forge a new track for themselves? All brave.
Sometimes, brave is waking up each day and saying “I’m going to take one step toward my new self.” We live in a society that doesn’t really embrace change, and around people who want us very often to stay who we were. The fear of us changing and perhaps no longer needing them the way they are, or no longer depending on what they used to give us, is a big fear for some. And to change anyway and then see that relationship in a new light is brave. Taking the step to say this isn’t working for me this way anymore is brave. Of course, when we change, it doesn’t mean we lose every relationship we used to have. Most will survive. But we do learn that some relationships don’t nourish the new way we want to be. We do learn that some people need us to be who we were so that they are validated to stay who they were. So many don’t want to change. Yet, our life calls for change, calls for our own evolution. This is why the saying “youth is wasted on the young” rings so true today, at least for me.
I look back on some situations from my twenties and thirties and realize that I could have handled them so much better. I could have behaved in different ways. I could have contacted people and said I’m sorry. I didn’t. Now, in my late fifties, I want to be brave and share with some of them that I know my part in what happened. I know I could have handled the situations differently. Can I be that brave to contact someone twenty years later to say I’m sorry for being an immature jerk. I also see relationships that I thought would survive everything and anything wilt away without me understanding why. Is brave when I contact them to find out? Or is brave when I say “fuck it” and walk away?
For me, the real test of bravery has been allowing me to heal, transform, learn and be in the midst of the messy middle of my transition to a new version, a better version, of me. Brave is naming my emotions that I am feeling, looking at them straight in the eye and understanding them. There was a time when I refused to really feel my emotions. Instead I ate to stuff them down, I drank them away, I ignored the feelings and in turn became self-deprecating and a victim. Brave is me being compassionate with myself during the messiness as I would with others. Brave is knowing that I am changing and embracing that change. Brave is no longer caring what others really think of me, and still being me, not who they want me to be.
Changing who we are to be more aligned with our purpose, with our core, with our pure awareness is scary. Recognizing that all the stories we told ourselves may not be true, that some are exaggerated and some are so invalid but we have allowed circumstances to validate them. We are brave when we face all of that, face our stories, face our way of being and make changes.
Brave. Being in the midst of the messy middle of change and embracing it right then and there. Understanding that we are who we are, and we are who we are becoming and somewhere in there we will have our epiphany of are best self. Brave is facing that in a world that wants us to stay who we were.