-Question submitted by Anonymous
Wanna know who has two thumbs and isn’t brave at all? THIS GUY *points to self with thumbs*
I never was brave or confident or strong or knowledgable of what I wanted. All of those things can make for a big scary stew of confusion. I didn’t all of a sudden wake up one morning and feel awesome, it took time.
I think you should figure out what things in life make you feel awesome. We all have some, even if it’s just one or two teeny tiny things. For me, I felt awesome when I was alone in my room learning songs on the guitar. I felt awesome when I was with my best friend talking about improv. I felt awesome when I was learning a new recipe. I felt awesome when I was riding my bike. Now here’s the trick. I WASN’T GOOD AT PLAYING GUITAR and I’M NOT THE SMARTEST IMPROVISOR and I’M NOT THE GREATEST COOK and I CAN’T RIDE MY BIKE THE FASTEST…. however… I loved doing those things. So I did more of them. The more I did the things I loved doing, the better I felt about trying new things.
AND I’LL TELL YOU WHAT…I used to literally have panic attacks in groups of people I didn’t know. I would stand in a room full of people I didn’t know and I’d be leaning against a wall on the verge of tears and barely able to breathe. But I talked myself out of it. It was hard, but I did it. I went to events over and over and over and over and felt uncomfortable and scared and I hated it for YEARS…until I didn’t hate it anymore. I just got used it. Did I love it? No. I still don’t love it. But I got used to it. Which I think is pretty much how life works. You push through the stuff you hate until you’re used to it, you do more of the stuff you love and most importantly you have to look for a good balance. Do the things that scare you the most. You don’t want to be 90 and thinking ‘wow, I wish i would have done all these things’ you want to be 90 and thinking ‘I did a bunch of stupid shit when I was young, but at least I had a blast.’
How can any of us be brave, really?
The truth of the matter, anonymous, is that life, and our relationship to it, is a rollercoaster of feelings and emotions. Right now, perhaps, you are feeling scared and like you don’t have the courage or confidence to do the things that you want to do with your life. I understand, and I have been there. To be totally honest, I am there, right at this very moment.
I am scared about many things in my life, I am scared that I haven’t grown enough to face the challenges that now face me, I worry about my future and if I can hold onto the seedlings of confidence that I have slowly and cautiously collected over the past years. A few weeks ago I felt on top of the world; today I feel doubtful and unsure. Life is, at all times, uncertain.
Let me tell you, though, what I have learned in the past decade or so of my experiences. I have learned that when we want to grow and to be brave, we move forward a few steps and back a few. To be brave, you have to force yourself to face the things that scare you, and know that sometimes you will face them and surprise yourself with your ability to overcome them, and other times you will run, trip, stumble and cry. Those reactions are all equal parts of you growing into being a stronger and braver person. When you stumble, remember that you are still growing. Remember that the next time you may surprise yourself.
Remember that the best way to be brave is to never stop trying, to always be patient, and to never, ever stop believing in yourself.