How to be brave

What’s the one thing you want to do more than anything right now but are too afraid to do?

As children it comes so naturally to us, to do everything that comes into our heads. We say the wrong things that make our parents shush us and run and dance like nobody is watching. We don’t feel embarrassed. We have no fear.

And then somewhere along the line we become more afraid of exposing ourselves. Maybe we’ve experienced rejection, or heartbreak, or our dance moves were once laughed at by a classmate in the playground. But these memories stay with us and can stop us from putting ourselves in a vulnerable position again, where we are open to judgement, critique and ultimately, rejection.

Which is fair enough, because acceptance from the world around us feels good. But not only will you never succeed without first trying, but you will also never know what could have been. And while not sending a message to your crush guarantees no rejection, it also guarantees a lifetime of ‘what if they were the one?’.

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I can say from experience that the pain of failure or rejection is incomparable to the anguish of not knowing. I have fallen on my bum more times than I can count because the few times that I have given in to fear and held myself back have created a sense of regret that will stay with me much longer than any embarrassing memory.

This is actually something I had forgotten recently, when the accumulation of my hurt became so great so suddenly that I started to hold myself back from doing the things I really wanted to. I became afraid of repeating old injuries when doing sports and of having my heart broken when meeting new people.

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Sometimes we need to play it safe, to give ourselves time to heal, but you have to expose yourself in order to achieve. Whether it’s your heart or your CV, exposing yourself is scary. But being brave is easier when the thought of never trying and never knowing what could have been strikes fear in your heart.

Take a deep breath. That thing you were too afraid to do- do it today, because one year from now, either it won’t matter at all or it will have changed your life- maybe for the better.

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