Welcome to my weekly highlights of bravery! If you’ve landed here by mistake, maybe it’s for a reason. Maybe you should read on and start your very own act of bravery. If you’re not quite ready yet, still read on and be inspired by my own attempts at bravery (or at least laugh, cry, or cringe along with me). Hopefully, one day, these tiny steps will lead us both closer to living smack in the middle of our dreams.
The moment after I posted my very first brave act of the year, dreaming of buying a house, I felt great. Looking and imagining and deciding what I wanted and didn’t want in a home was empowering. I even stopped the old thoughts from wandering to you will never own your own house, and why are you even dreaming about this? It felt liberating.
The moment after I woke up the next morning everything had changed.
My thoughts revolted. Starting with, now everyone knows I’m almost forty and have never owned a home. Spiraling to: It’s such a large purchase. I can’t see myself living anywhere but here, where I’ve lived for the last ten years. What am I thinking? Owning a home, puwcha. I’d be happy in a tiny apartment, holed up, traveling, writing all day.
But then I stopped and looked at the emotion. I sat in it for a few moments, just letting it run it’s course. You know what I discovered? Fear. The emotional revolt was simply fear trying to protect me from disappointment and vulnerability once again.
I learned recently that fear’s job is to protect. Sometimes it provides a good heads up. Maybe I really shouldn’t walk down that dark alley alone.
Sometimes that warning is an alert the choice I’m about to make isn’t the one I really want. Maybe that dazzling opportunity to coach basketball (something I love) isn’t condusive to family time and an achievable writing scedule.
But more often than not, fear is trying to stop me from being vulnerable. The problem? Without vulnerability I can’t dream and without dreams I certainly can’t become my truest self. Maybe if I want to publish a book, I better query an agent regardless of how twisted up my insides get.
That’s the key here, I think, using fear as a tool. Instead of running from it, I must turn and face it, sit there as an observer and listen to all the messages it’s giving me. Only after listening and weighing can I learn what I’m actually afraid of.
The moment after I recognized fear, I asked a very important question: What do I really want?
What do I really want? Such a loaded question sometimes. Why can’t it be as easy as choosing between peanut M&Ms and Godiva sea salt dark chocolate squares?
Truthfully, I want to own my home. I want to paint my walls whatever color I fancy and plant a flower garden that I don’t have to worry about leaving. I also want to write for a living and travel. But that’s the amazing thing about dreams, I can take brave steps towards all of them.
Do you have a dream that feels too vulnerable to voice? Be brave, share it in the comments. I’ll cheer you on! Or go to my Acts of Bravery page and share your brave act there. Together, we can do this!