Browsing Tag:

courage

Doing something brave even when it scares you

doing-the-brave-thing

I’ve been feeling this pressure welling up inside of me for months. Like the gentle expansion of a balloon as air is forced into it, stretching and stretching until eventually, it bursts.

 

The stress has been pressing in on me from all sides.

I have felt trapped. Unable to move because every option seems too heavy, too messy or too complicated to pursue.

 

In all honesty, my job has been making me miserable and all this time I’ve been wrestling with this constant dissatisfaction.

 

Because serving people all day long is exhausting. Because waking up at 5am every day is grueling. Because getting told off and feeling on edge all the time is demeaning.

 

And truthfully, I believe I deserve better.

 

But I’ve been too scared to walk away. Because quitting means stepping into the unknown, a future without the security of a job, without a clear plan, without a clue what to do next.

 

Leaving means giving up a regular paycheck and my independence.

 

So I have stayed.

 

I’ve pushed through the negative thoughts and tried to focus on the positive. I’ve thought of tiny, little ways to make each day better. I’ve started going to bed early so the mornings aren’t quite as painful.

 

And yet, I still feel the pressure. I still feel the dissatisfaction. I still feel myself yearning for something more.

 

Happiness, excitement and creativity are calling out me. Begging me to do the brave thing. Quickening my heart and filling my head with dreams that I long to make come true.

 

Finally, after months of this internal battle, I decided to quit my job.

 

Now I feel sick. Now I feel free. Now I feel I am finally being true to myself.


 

There have been so many moments this year where I have felt that queasy, is-this-the-right-thing-or-a-terrible-mistake feeling.

 

So many times I’ve doubted myself, grappled with the uncertainty and clung to the familiar instead of choosing the brave thing.

 

I don’t blame myself.

 

Doing the brave thing is hard. Going out on a limb is terrifying. Stepping into the unknown takes so much courage.  

 

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We get these rare moments every now and then where we can choose to take the easy route or do the brave thing.

 

Should we date that guy? Should we take that job? Should we move to a new city? Should we go back and study?

 

To me it feels a lot like rock climbing. You don’t really know which of the oddly-shaped hand holds to grab until you let go of the last one and stretch your arm up to grab the next one.

 

For a split second you are dangling in mid-air, gripping nothing, with only your sheer focus and determination driving you forwards.

 

Sometimes you grab the wrong handhold. One of those small, knobbly ones that makes your sweaty hands slip right off.

But other times you are lucky enough to reach for one with a proper indentation, one that makes pulling yourself up easy.


 

Sometimes being brave is just about doing the next right thing. Sitting still long enough to recognize your wants and needs.

 

The brave thing might be the opposite of what everyone else says you should do. It might make you unpopular. It might take everything you’ve got.

 

But the brave thing is worth it.

 

A little over five months ago I said another scary yes and started dating a guy who’s ended up becoming my best friend.

 

Every part of me wanted to keep my tattered little heart locked up safe where no guy could ever trample on it again but instead I chose to share it with him. I chose to open up and give love another chance.

 

It turns out this was the best yes I’ve said in a long time.

 

doing-the-brave-thing

 

So here I am again doing the brave thing even though it scares me.

Reaching out for the next handhold, unsure whether it will be able to support me. Going out on a limb because I know life is full of surprises if we are willing to take a chance.

 

We can fool ourselves into believing that it is only special people who do incredible things. That only very few, lucky people are truly happy. But I think that’s wrong.

 

The truly happy people, the ones who have done and are doing amazing things are the ones who are willing to do the brave things.

 

They aren’t any different to you and me. They just pushed past the fear and said yes anyway. They just bottled away enough courage to leap forwards.

 

They just believed in themselves enough to think it might just be worth a try.

 

And that’s what you need to do today.

Believe in yourself and do the brave thing, even (especially) if it scares you.

The fear and the thrill of the fall

the-fear-of-falling

I have been ice skating three or four times in my life and every time I set foot on the ice I feel the same sensation.

 

The wobbly knees. The racing heart. The sheer terror of trying to move the thin blades on the slippery ice.

 

For the first few minutes I am nearly paralyzed. I jump at every passing person’s shadow. I teeter on the edge of the rink. I breathe deeply and attempt to slide forwards but the motion is less smooth and more like a drunken stagger.  

 

If I could only quieten my noisy mind and still my anxious heart, I know I could do this.

 

But the fear of falling always slows me down.

 

The panicked feeling of losing control makes my legs stop working.

 

As I look around, I see kids who barely come up to my knees, who are careening around without a care in the world. I wonder why that is?

Is it because they have sweet, innocent minds not yet tainted by the worries of this world? Is it because they’ve fallen once and they know it’s not so bad, so the falling no longer scares them? Or perhaps, it is just because they are closer to the ground so when they fall it doesn’t hurt as much.

 

I wish I had their fervor. I wish I could skate with their gusto. I wish I too, wasn’t afraid of falling.


 

The thing about fear is that it immobilizes us. It keeps us rigid, tense and hyper-aware of our surroundings. It prevents us from having the fluidity needed to move forwards.

 

There is something known as the fear-tension-pain cycle which women often experience in childbirth. The more afraid a woman feels about giving birth, the more tense she becomes and the more tense she becomes, the more pain she feels which leads to more fear.

 

To break the cycle, she must lean into the pain. She must face the fear and reduce the tension.

 

I see life as somewhat similar to giving birth.

 

We are constantly creating something out of nothing. Painting gentle strokes onto the canvas of our lives. Making art and beauty with the words we speak out, sing in the shower and whisper under our breath.

 

And in this birthing of something new and not yet known, we have to lean into the pain of the process. If we give into the fear, if we allow ourselves to tense up or pull back, we’ll find ourselves stuck.

Our ideas will run dry, our dreams will fade in the sunlight, our creativity will crumble like dust.

 

We have to allow ourselves to feel the pain in order to create. We must push through that fear of falling and make something anyway.

 

We have to be like those little children, unhindered by the slippery ice and sharp blades. Undaunted by the chill in the air and their lack of coordination.

 

To live, we simply must fall.

 

And that is what scares me the most. The lack of control. The absence of order.

 

There isn’t a road map for following your dreams or a safety net for falling in love, it’s just you and the ice. Miles of frozen water stretch out before you. An endless, unmarred horizon.  A blank, white unknown.

 

At some point all of us are faced with a choice, will we hold ourselves back or will we wobble out onto the ice?

 

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There is a time to hold back and there is a time to leap forwards, the key is recognising which move will serve you best.

 

I’ve been foolish with this decision before and of course, I have been hurt in the process.

 

But what I have found is that most often, it is better to take the leap because the fall is never as far or us fatal as I am expecting. And somehow, I always recover after the fall. It’s as if the fall makes me stronger. I suppose that dropping down to the lowest possible place means there is nowhere to go but up.

 

Taking a risk isn’t the safe option but it’s the only one that will allow you to fly.

 

You’ll never know how it feels to glide around the rink if you don’t step out onto the ice. You’ll never find love if you keep your heart locked up. You’ll never experience an adventure if you don’t seek it out. You’ll never know your full potential if you don’t give yourself a chance.


 

Because the other thing about the fall is this…it’s exhilarating. It’s breathtaking. It’s intoxicating.  

 

The reason we come back time and time again is because the fall makes us feel alive. Fully human. Impossibly free.

 

The truth is, our broken bones will heal. Our shattered hearts will mend. Our deflated ego will be restored.  What do we really have to fear when we’ve survived every fall we’ve ever had?

 

Because the alternative is to live a despondent life. To stick to the side of the rink. To hide ourselves away from anyone and anything that could hurt us. To never know the dizzy, dancing way it feels to take a running leap.

 

I don’t want to live that way.

I don’t want to be afraid.

I don’t want my thirst for control to limit me.

 

I’d rather fall on my face a thousand times than be the kind of person who isn’t willing to try.

 

“When you get the choice to sit it out or to dance, I hope you dance.” – Lee Ann Womack