Bravery: the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty.
Let me ask you a question: what does bravery mean to you?
Recently I’ve started sharing a few details about my childhood and adolescence with you, in an effort to be more vulnerable, and to become more connected with you. And that little action of pressing the “publish” button required bravery. I was nervous, I was scared, and I made the decision to be brave, and share myself with you. I want to show you despite our circumstances, we can overcome. We can use our negative experiences and make them into positives. Growing up with a single mom wasn’t easy, and going through her rough marriage and messy divorce wasn’t easy. Switching junior high schools when I was 12 wasn’t easy, and switching high schools when I was 16 wasn’t easy, either.
Going through a myriad of rough experiences when I was a child and a teenager could have shut me down. It could have made me fade away, hide, and turn into myself. I could have become angry, and depressed. I could have given up, and decided to let my experiences dictate who I would become. I could have made bad choices and blamed it on my upbringing. I could have ended up going down a whole different path.
But I didn’t.
I didn’t fade away. I didn’t give up. Instead I used my experiences for good. I bravely chose to rise above the trials in my life, the fears I had, and I fought. I choose to be brave. I kept a 3.7 GPA or above in high school, I made new friends, I was accepted into a wonderful university and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree. I went to church, I gained a testimony, I worked hard to support myself. I found a wonderful man, and married him, and have cultivated a loving and long-lasting marriage with him. Each time I did one of these things, I was choosing to be brave.
That’s not to say it wasn’t hard, or scary, or that there weren’t times I cried myself to sleep. It was hard and scary, and I did cry. I felt lost a lot of the time. I had to figure things about by myself, without much guidance, and I made mistakes.
But I found that fight and bravery inside myself. I pushed and grew and learned, and tried and tried again until I succeeded. I realized that to be brave means to make little choices each day, that put you on a good path, the path you want to be on. Every day we are faced with new trials and choices. Every day can bring fear. But it’s what you do in the face of that fear, in spite of your trials, that matters. That’s what bravery is.
Being brave does not mean not being scared. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t cry. It doesn’t mean we can’t, or won’t, feel vulnerable. We will be all those things, that’s just human nature, that’s just life. But to me, bravery is feeling those emotions, letting them wash over you, and then digging deep, deep inside and rising up. Recognizing you’re scared and scarred, and doing the right thing anyway.
I know that everyone has that same fight and bravery within themselves that I found, that we can all make the choice to overcome. I know we have all gone through hard times. We all have scars, whether they be physical or emotional. And although my hard times do not look like yours, and vice versa, I know that deep inside yourself, there is bravery. There is fight. You can choose to be brave, like I did. And I know that sometimes bravery means waiting and having hope. But girl, don’t give up, because it’s the not giving up part that is brave. Do.Not.Give.Up.
It is scary. It can be difficult. It can be hard to know what choice to make, or to know how we can find the strength in us to choose the correct choice in front of us. We may be going against all we’ve ever known. But you can do it. We can do it. I know we can.
No matter what you’re currently going through – whether it’s a breakup or a big move or a hard pregnancy or being in the throes of mental illness or suffering from infertility or sickness in your family or even just the regular struggles of every day life – you can make the decision to be brave. Because even if I don’t know you personally, I know that you have it within yourself to make yourself more than your circumstances and experiences. I believe in you, friend. I really do.
I’m not trying to suggest that you do more than you are able. Sometimes we have physical limitations and/or commitments that require we stay where we are. But even though we are not able to choose our trials, we can choose our attitudes. We can choose what happens on the inside. We can choose what we become. We can choose to be more than they try to make us out to be. Don’t believe the statistics. Don’t listen to what others say.
Start by making a little choice each day that makes you feel braver.
You can do it.
You can be brave.
Take courage, dear heart.
The best is yet to come.
Is there something you are hoping to “be”? Maybe you want to be brave, too. Or maybe you want a reminder to be kind, or to be the good. No matter what you’re hoping to become, Cents of Style has a shirt for you. From 4/28 through 4/30 you can get your favorite shirt in the Be Series for only $15.95 + free shipping using the code BESTORY.
What will you choose to be?
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