How To Face Your Fears and Unearth Your Bravery

June 13, 2015

I was wronged. Wronged by somebody I used to call my own. I was young and naive. I never dared to confide in anyone. I would bravely put on a smile and go about my day like nothing happened while I crumbled inside.

A year after our wedding, I mustered up courage and confided in my husband.

Although it came as a shock to him that I had kept such a secret for years, I knew I had done the right thing by sharing my long-buried secret with the one person I could trust. 

(A secret which I will be sharing with the world in a few years to come as I believe what happened to me could help millions out there in similar situations). My husband was supportive, more than ever before, protective and obviously angry towards the one who had wronged me.  

Divulging that secret was the bravest I had ever been in my 26 years of existence. It released me from the shackles of fear. I felt like I tore down the walls of insecurity, sadness and anxiety. It was extremely liberating. 

Time had come for me to be brave
I then realized how I always put myself on the back burner and sacrificed so much of what I really wanted to do over the years. 

I had succumbed to a life of mediocrity and cowardice. I used to over analyze every situation and end up feeling paralyzed. 

I could not bring myself to live my truth and allowed people to toy with my feelings. I wasn't brave to take responsibility for my life which made me feel utterly disappointed. 

Late 2009 was the year I was at war with myself. I wanted to move forward and find a purpose to my life. It was a long and arduous battle. My mind would constantly be flooded with questions like these:

What do you want out of life? 
How do you define yourself?
Are you ready to be yourself? 

These questions might sound easy but, believe me they're few of the toughest questions I've ever asked myself. I did not have answers to those until I stumbled upon Author Margie Warrell's Stop Playing Safe. 

This book is filled with practical advice and ways to step out of your comfort zone and align yourself with your real self. Certainly helped me advance in life, become the person I love waking up to every single day, challenge myself and most of all try the things that make me uncomfortable.

This particular quote mentioned in the book opened up Aladdin's cave in my life,

"Ever more people today have the  means today have the means to live but not the meaning to live for"

Albert Einstein
Can you relate to quote above?
Do you feel like life has come to a stop and have nothing to look forward to?

You are not alone. We can all recall a time in our lives, where we felt crippled by fear and self-doubt. We prefer living in our comfort zones. We force ourselves to mingle with people we don't like. We comply with every rule as we try avoiding confrontation. We put on fake smiles and fake acts to please others. 

What happened to our BRAVE? Why can't we live our truths?
Why do we fixate so much on fear allowing it to sabotage our goals?
We often forget in order to achieve anything great in life and unleash our potential, we have to be prepared to take risks.

Unfortunately though, we are living in a risk adverse and cowardly society now than ever before. Playgrounds are fitted with rubber surfaces to avoid serious injuries. Parents have become over protective of their kids. They want their kids to be brave but cautious.

Schools are implementing a better grading system to provide equal and fair opportunities to all students. Anonymous letters/blank calls are carried out to release frustration. People hide behind fake names/profile pictures to name and shame others via inappropriate posts/comments on social media.

The worst is those taking pictures/selfies/videos of racist attacks, bully victims, brawls and roadside accidents. Here's an article I came across in March where a crowd urged a suicidal man to "Jump and get on with it". Selfies and pictures were taken and posted on social media. How sick and cowardly is that?

Those suffering from aids, depression or post-traumatic disorders are scared to share how they feel for fear of isolation. Failure, lack of will power, fear of the unknown pushes many to give up on their dreams and settle for something they're not happy about. 

In short, we're all PLAYING IT SAFE. We're putting OUR BRAVE AWAY. Living in OUR COMFORT ZONE that's doing us no good at all. 

How are kids, teenagers, and young adults meant to learn from life experiences, understand risks and face their fears if society prevents them from experiencing it? 

How nice would it be if we were to naturally grow brave as we grew older just like we grow tall as we grow older? Unfortunately, that's not the case. 

If you want real happiness and a life filled with positivity, you have to learn to move past your insecurities and fears. That demands practice and will power. You have to acknowledge your fears, face those fears, take responsibility for your life, believe in your dreams and be brave enough to realize them. 

Are you ready? 

Let's dive right in! Shall we?

The word *BRAVE* is believed to have many origins. Some say it comes from the Italian word 'bravo' also from French carrying the same spelling which means valiant or splendid. Previously, the original meaning of the word 'bravo' was wild and savage. Over the years, the word 'brave' has definitely evolved in meaning and I like the modern definition.

"Endure uncomfortable conditions/situations 
without showing fear"

Here's what 'BRAVE' stands for me and how you can unearth your bravery:

Believe in Yourself

Remember? When you were a kid you wanted to be super hero or a princess? Nobody had ever told you to 'believe in yourself' and yet you did. Where did that belief in yourself vanish? 

As a kid you believed everything was possible. You believed you could be anything you wanted. But as you grew older you started comparing yourself to others. You allowed insecurities and fears to settle in and get the better of you. You began finding ways to avoid doing the things that made you feel uncomfortable. 

You made up those lame excuses, 'I don't have enough money' or 'I'm unlucky' 'I am waiting for the perfect conditions' 'I don't have time' 'I'm scared it won't work' and pushed your dreams away.

I urge you to be brave. Let go of those excuses. Trust your abilities.

 Refuse to listen to the voices of doubt

Doubt has killed many more dreams than failure ever has. When you fail that means at least you've been brave enough to do whatever it is you wanted to do. But doubt doesn't even give you the chance to begin anything. It makes itself comfortable in your mind like an uninvited guest and bosses you around. 
Now! There are two types voices that speak doubt in our minds. 

(i) Our voice
I am sure you must have heard the famous cliches that we are our own worst enemy. YES! We certainly are. I still am very hard on myself sometimes. I've often put myself down and been my harshest critic. 

I remember when I was about to start blogging a year ago there was this little voice that kept telling me "Do you really think you can do this?" "Do you think you stand a chance with all those bloggers out there?" "Whose going to read your blog or follow you?" 

Doubt Doubt....If we are not careful we will allow our insecurities and comparison with others speak doubt into our minds and lives. We will rob ourselves of our dreams and chances to greatness. 

I wouldn't be blogging today if I was to listen to my voice of doubt. I urge you to practice talking to yourself like you would to someone you love.

(ii) The voice of others
The moment you try something different or work towards a project that you truly believe in, there will be people who will genuinely be happy for you and encourage you. But at times you will come across naysayers, doubters who will speak doubt into you. They are those who won't believe in you. They will tell you to do the safe thing and convince you whatever you are doing is stupid. They will tell you to stop building castles in the air and go find a job. 

How many times in your life have you been discouraged by such people? Do you remember that teacher in school, relation or who laughed at your dream and told you "You will never achieve your goal" "That's a stupid idea" "You will never be successful" and you believed them? 

You have shrunk back because of those naysayers. Folks, it's high time you took a relationship inventory. Remove people who bring you down. Stay away from those who have nothing positive to contribute to your life. Surround yourself with those who lift you higher, believe in yourself and appreciate your potentials. The rest! Well, you guessed it! Be brave and let them GO! 

Act upon your fears

The next step you need to take towards becoming brave is facing your fears. Do you know you can achieve anything you possibly can think of if you acted upon your fears? Fear like any other emotion grows if you feed it. 

"Feed you fears and your faith will starve. Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death" 

Max Lucado

You and I give permission to our fears which in turn consumes us making us feel depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. Usually what we most fear is what we need to be doing. Starting a conversation with your boss. Having to speak in front of an audience. Having to move away from a toxic relationship. Asking that question. Saying NO or YES when you want to are some of the many things we fear. We fear the unknown outcome and it prevents us from doing what we need to do.

A few weeks ago, I was on the tram. A tiny little girl probably aged 5 sat next to me. She looked excited, very chatty and accompanied by her mother. When they reached their stop, the little girl didn't want to get off the tram. "I am scared" she exclaimed a few times. She was visibly scared to get off the tram steps. But the most heartwarming moment was when her mother held her hand and told her,  "Don't worry sweetie, do it scared". She repeated this line until the girl had gotten all the way down.

This mother had just taught me a lesson. She taught me that it is perfectly fine to be frightened. It's absolutely fine to have doubts and feel uncomfortable. We have to JUST DO IT regardless of we feel. She helped her child get off the tram by helping her accept her fears and act upon it.

If you want to better acknowledge your fears, write down everything that could possibly go wrong. and right. I've tried this quite a few times and every time the 'rights' outweighed the 'wrongs', which means our fears can be treated successfully if we bravely allow ourselves to do so.

 Value all that you are

How many times have you self-sabotaged telling yourself "I'm not worth it"? How do you expect others to respect you and value you if you constantly undervalue yourself?

Very often people struggle to find love because they're either undervaluing or overvaluing themselves. You have to learn to strike the right balance here. Nobody likes a person who's boastful nor do they like a person who constantly puts themselves down.

Love yourself. Appreciate your uniqueness. Reward yourself. Let me also remind you that even if you value yourself there will be people who out of jealousy will underestimate you and make you feel bad about yourself. Do not let them dampen your spirits. Be brave and stand up for yourself because if you don't, nobody will. 

 Empower others along the way

This is a strategy I've been using for a few years now and it works wonders. While you work towards becoming braver, extend a helping hand to those you think might need a little push. Nothing is more uplifting, knowing you have made a difference in somebody else's life, knowing you put a smile on somebody's face, knowing somebody else took a brave step towards their future because of you. This reminds me of a quote:
"Try to help others. Consult their weaknesses, strive to raise them up, and by doing so you will most effectively raise yourself up also" 
Joseph Barber Lightfoot
Last but not the least, I have to make mention of another book by Margie Warrell that has once again helped me live  freely and courageously.


50 Everyday Acts of Courage
to thrive in Work, Love and Life
by Margie Warrell

We are often faced with situations that require us to be brave. Unfortunately most of the time, instead of taking a step forward to accomplish great things, we pull that emergency brake and play it safe. The author of BRAVE elegantly outlines how we can put aside our fears using her own personal life experiences. I could relate to many points mentioned. I instantly feel grateful as the book provided me with tons of practical ideas and ways to turn my weaknesses into my strengths.

The book is divided into 5 main chapters subdivided by concise and clear subtopics. Although the entire book is filled with refreshing and invigorating points the following topics are my favorites.

Get your copy at
Brave is one of the rare books that you will keep referring to overtime. I also love when the author clearly mentions that there is no magic formula or clear cut ways to overcome fear. Just reading this book alone isn't going to make you brave instantly. We need to be willing and dig deep to adopt a courageous mindset.

Whether you're a student, parent, professional, entrepreneur or leader,  this is a book you should not miss out on. I consider myself lucky to have read Margie Warrell's books and crossed paths with her at this stage in my life where my husband and I are working on a new project, planning the near future and beyond, taking greater risks and stepping out of our comfort zones as often as we possibly can.

I urge you to Get your copy at Train The Brave and practice being brave.

You don't have to attempt to climb Mount Everest straightaway. Start practicing simple acts of courage that could help you step off your comfort zone and increase your self-confidence.

For instance,

* Give away a few smiles to complete strangers.
* Avoid hesitating and lend a helping hand to whoever needs it.
* Be brave and confess your love.
* Show your vulnerable side.
* Stand up for anybody being bullied.
* Be open to change.

What will you do today to be brave? How do you practice bravery? Is there anything holding you back from being brave?

Do share your thoughts with us.

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the week.

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