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Bravery is a Habit

I’ve sat down to write this a hundred times, each time losing the words right as my pen hits the page. I thought I had some great revelation to share about how I’ve been overcoming fear in my own life, but each time I jump one hurdle, another one seems to be waiting for me on the other side. I used to think that fear was a big, ugly monster, I just had to kill off in my mind in order to find the courage to overcome the small fears and anxieties of everyday life. To my dismay, it seems that overcoming fear is not a simple task to undertake, and like most things, bravery is a habit that must be built through consistency. For me, fear finds its way into my brain, heart, and body in many different ways. It has manifested itself in debilitating depression, and it has perpetuated a narrative of worthlessness in my mind. Yet, the greatest injustice fear has committed in my life, is keeping me from the belief that my truth is worth speaking. Over the past few months, my stress levels increased, my depression worsened, and my anxiety skyrocketed. As I sat one-night spiraling down a particularly dark hole of shame and loneliness, all I could think was that I could not live like this anymore, and I wondered if the things weighing down my heart were worth holding on to if they continued to cause me so much suffering.I felt broken and trapped in a cycle of pain that I could not escape. In this moment, I knew that something had to change. Brené Brown writes, in her book Gifts of Imperfection, “Caution: If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.” As soon as I read this passage, I knew that this was me. The things that were weighing me down were unspoken truths, that were so deeply ingrained in the reality of who I am, and holding them back was dragging me deeper and deeper into my depression. Bravery and courage are a choice, and they require daily diligence and commitment. Just like we make a commitment to our gym membership, to our schooling, or even to maintaining our relationships, these qualities require the active choice to dive headfirst into the unknown. While the path of bravery comes with many unknowns, it comes with the conviction of being truly 100% authentic to who you are. With bravery comes freedom. Freedom to live in the power of your truth. My wish for you is that you find a place of fortitude deep within where a commitment to bravery can flourish, and that you are eased by the knowledge that there are others on this difficult and worthwhile journey with you. We are in this together. Written by Sierra Meszaros

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