Being brave sounds good, but doesn't it only really come in useful if you're a trapeze artist reaching out for that bar and hoping you connect, an astronaut bursting through the atmosphere at a gazillion miles an hour, or in the unenviable position of having to land a plane in the Hudson river?
We get bravery wrong, thinking that it has to be some big, life-changing gesture akin to facing down a tank in Tiananmen Square.
But being brave comes in all shapes and sizes, and you only really know what it looks like for you when you're in a situation where you either choose to be brave, or you don't.
Here are 49 reasons for you to be brave.
- Saying yes to that opportunity because of how it will help you grow
- Saying no to that opportunity because it won't allow you to grow
- Asking them out on a date, because you love who you are when you're with them
- Finally standing up to a friend who keeps treating you badly
- Because you want to set fresh expectations with your partner about what you need in your relationship
- Going to that event, even though you don't know anybody there and don't know what it's going to be like
- Speaking up in a meeting when there are big personalities around you
- Explaining to your boss that you think there's a better way, even though consensus seems to be against you
- Opening up to someone about what you're really scared about
- Asking for help because you're tired of doing it alone
- Approaching someone you admire greatly and asking if you can talk about an idea you have
- Making yourself vulnerable with someone you like or care about, because you're tired of hiding
- Quitting that pet project you've been plugging away at because you've outgrown it or it no longer energises you
- Showing someone else the results of your creativity instead of keeping it to yourself
- Saying "Fuck yes" to a new project, for no other reason than it feels fun or exciting
- Saying "Fuck no" to a new project, for no other reason than it doesn't feel fun or exciting
- Letting go of a relationship that only makes you feel at your worst
- Confronting the reality of your finances and choosing to be responsible for it
- Owning up to your part in a bad situation rather than assigning blame elsewhere
- Prioritising genuine nourishment over false comfort or numbing habits
- Choosing what feels crazy over what's practical or logical
- Believing that you can start, even though you're not sure you can finish
- Letting your partner know what you want sexually
- Leaving people behind who make you feel small
- Because you finally realise that your heart lies elsewhere
- Making yourself uncomfortable when you could more easily have made yourself safe
- Leaving behind your home, your town and your friends because of an irresistible opportunity elsewhere
- Letting go of how someone hurt you, because it no longer serves you to keep it close
- Deciding to learn to do something that makes you feel exposed, like public speaking, going to the gym or dancing
- Telling your manager "No", you can't take on any more work right now
- Because you don't want to have it be a struggle any more, and need help on where to go next
- Choosing to deal with a block that's holding you back, like a fear of intimacy, a belief that you're not good enough or even a fear of flying
- Telling someone you love them
- Telling someone you don't love them
- Admitting to a mistake you made, even though you might just get away with it
- Hearing what your body is telling you, especially if it might be bad news
- Standing up for yourself when others are trying to sway you in your thinking or action
- Deciding that you can't fit in with what others expect of you any more, because you don't like who you are when you do that
- Going back to school or college to learn something you really love
- Embracing change, even when those closest to you don't want you to change
- Quitting your job because it's damaging you, even though you have nothing else lined up
- Admitting that you've been wrong to people whose respect you crave
- Because you're tired of pretending that everything's great all the time
- Deciding to stop trying to be something you're not to someone who doesn't want you as you are
- Realising that what you've been doing won't make you happy
- Letting go of dogmatic beliefs even if those beliefs have defined part of your identity
- Choosing to take a stand in your life, right now, rather than just going with the flow
- Not hiding the stuff that matters to you just because it doesn't matter to people around you
- Choosing self-compassion over indifference or self-judgement
There are more reasons to be brave, of course.
As many reasons as there are choices.
And when it comes to that moment, that moment when you wonder if you have bravery inside you, or how to be brave, you only need to make one choice.
Does it matter enough for me to do the brave thing?