Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Day 2: To be brave

When I looked at this morning's blog prompt, when was the last time you did something brave? I decided to look up the word in the dictionary.

Webster's defines it as "feeling or showing no fear: not afraid."

This pretty much fits with the image bravery conjures up for me; that of a knight on a horse, wearing polished armor and brandishing a weapon in which they are high skilled at wielding.  In other words, it brings to mind a vision of someone who is hyper prepared and trained to deal with whatever monster they are about to face.

Maybe this is why I tend to squirm a bit when someone calls me brave.  Because most of the time I feel like I'm walking through life ill prepared and quite vulnerable.   From conversations I've had with friends over the years, most of us go through life feeling this way; there is nothing unique about it. Most of us would apply the word brave to anyone other than ourselves.

Which brings me back to the definition (feeling or showing no fear) because in knowing how we are just making our way as best we can, despite our fears and people still call us brave, we are at least giving the appearance of being fearless.  The second part of the definition, showing no fear, seems to apply to most of us.

So, now that I'm done with overthinking what the word means can I answer the question?  When was the last time you did something brave? On a personal level I could say it was allowing myself to sit in stillness during a workshop I attended this weekend.  On the more public level it could be taking a stand for what I believe is right during this election season.  On an everyday level, sometimes just getting out of bed when my anxiety prone brain is racing at 1,000mph is an act of bravery.

In the end I think we are all far more brave than we probably give ourselves credit for.  We all rise out of bed, get through the day in whatever way we can, and start all over again with the next dawn.  And perhaps it is because we do this without armor, without a trained steed carrying us forward and without a mighty sword at our side, that we are truly brave.  Because we are doing all of this from a place of vulnerability...facing the dangers of the day with only our courage and our very frail human skin to shield us.

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