“I want to be brave again.”
These words, when she spoke them aloud, stopped me in my tracks.
To her mind, this client was speaking about her own goal, about looking for the courage to return to doing the things she loves after suffering an injury. But without realizing it, she was really speaking for every single one of us.
To be brave again.
I know the feeling of hesitation after suffering an injury. A few years ago I tore up my shoulder doing a particular exercise. And I have yet to return to that exercise, because even the thought of it causes me some anxiety. Any of us who have dealt with injury knows the feeling.
But I also think of how much bravery and courage our day to day life asks of us. Sure there’s the big stuff - being brave enough to speak and stand up for our beliefs - brave enough to leave a miserable job when you don’t know what will come next. Brave enough to end a relationship that is unhealthy for you.
But there’s the other stuff too. It requires bravery to wear the clothes we want to wear. For years, I dressed the way other people told me I should dress, because I was afraid of the judgement that would follow. It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough in my own skin to wear what I wanted to wear because I liked it.
It took time for me to be brave enough.
It takes bravery to allow ourselves to be photographed when we’re riddled with shame and self-loathing about our appearance.
It takes bravery to change our hair, to ask someone out to dinner, to publicly admit we love John Denver (there, I said it, ok?), to try a new activity, or put our art and creativity out there. Brene Brown says it best when she she defines “daring greatly” as the courage to be vulnerable, to show up and be seen, to ask for what you need, to talk about how you’re feeling, to have the hard conversations.”
To be brave.
I don’t know what it will take for this client to feel brave again, about returning to her activities. I don’t know what it will take for you, sitting there reading this, to feel brave enough to maybe walk through our doors for the first time. Or make whatever change it is you’ve been thinking about making.
I think it starts with creating a safe space. Safe for sharing, safe for feeling, safe for authenticity, safe for you to be unapologetically, unabashedly you, whoever that is.
And that is the space that we continue to try to create and hold sacred for each other. As best as we can.
I think, I hope, that the more we can cherish one another with kindness and compassion, that we can help each other be brave.