As you all know, I’ve been reading through “100 Days to Brave,” by Annie F. Downs. A few days ago I finished my first journey through the book. Honestly, I don’t know how much braver I feel, but I did learn a few things…
- I learned that bravery comes in unexpected moments. A smile. A sentence. A friendship. Small things that will make all the difference. It starts with saying yes, and then it grows through saying no sometimes. It doesn’t always feel like it’s brave. But after the fact you can sense it. You’ve been brave.
- Bravery is a practice. I know, weird. You can actually train yourself to be brave. However, if I am going into something with a mindset determined to be brave, my odds were much better. And as I saw one experience go well, it became easier to do it again and again. Even the times that it didn’t go well, I was less discouraged because I was allowing myself to train and stretch myself. Being brave won’t always go perfectly. It’s okay to fail!
- Bravery does not always look the same at all times and for every person. Sometimes my bravery was simply saying hello to someone. Other days it was inviting someone to a bible study. Even other times it was saying my opinion in a room where I knew my opinion wasn’t welcome. Bravery fluctuates in form, but no matter what it seems like it’s still brave.
- You may already be a little bit braver than you know. When you look for brave, you see it. So, while you may not feel particularly brave, I’m sure you can think of at least one moment in which you did something brave. Or someone else can point to something you do and label it brave. You’ve already started. Now you can improve.
- Being brave is much easier when you have support. This book started as a bible study, but as school and work started, we somewhat distanced ourselves from checking in regularly. That being said, I realized it’s harder when you begin to go at being brave by yourself. You can’t always rely on other people, but I saw that when I told people my goals or plans, there was an outflow of encouragement and it helps!
So, maybe I am not the bravest person. Maybe I don’t always speak up when I should. Maybe I fail sometimes. But I am learning. I am learning it is okay to say yes and it is okay to say no, honesty is brave. I am learning to be friendlier than necessary because I know I like it when people are friendly to me. But the biggest thing I have learned is that trying is completely necessary. So, I will begin speaking up. Even when it’s hard. Even when I don’t have all the words. Even when my voice shakes.
And that is the beginning of brave for me.