Today I’d like to discuss five unconventional things that you can do to be brave. You don’t need to go skydiving or rescue someone from a burning building to show courage – there’s many things you can do in everyday life to demonstrate this. And I think that if we can incorporate a little more bravery and confidence into our daily routines, that we are going to feel more fulfilled, more positive, and more in control of our fates (and not just swept along by the currents of habitual behaviors). In turn, this can contribute to more positive health and wellbeing.
#1: Forgive someone.
I know, I know: “Boooo this is so cliche.” But seriously, forgiving someone is not easy, especially if they’ve truly wronged you. But forgiving that person who hurt you takes a lot of courage and effort on your part, and it’s well worth it. Forgiving someone takes unnecessary burden off of our shoulders, and promotes love and healthy relationships in our lives.
Also, keep in mind that this person you forgive could be yourself. We do plenty of things that induce feelings of guilt or shame toward ourselves on a daily basis, so we’d be wise to look ourselves in the mirror and say, “That’s cool. No worries, friend. You got this.” Because when we can’t let go of some resentment we have towards ourselves, it’s going to be much more difficult to let go of any ill will we have toward someone else.
#2: Get out of your comfort zone.
Getting out of your comfort zone can be one of the most challenging things to do. Most of us prefer the comfort of our everyday routines, and we sort of settle into their monotony. One of the most courageous things you could do would be to break that mold just a little bit and try something you may never have otherwise.
This doesn’t mean you have to go skydiving or travel abroad. It could simply be taking a group fitness class, going indoor rock climbing, venturing to a new neighborhood in your city, going to dinner an hour later than usual, or branching out from your usual book or podcast genre. You might learn something new, make new connections, find a passion for something foreign to you, or have a little extra fun.
#3: Invite someone to do something.
I believe that most people have a deep-seeded fear of rejection. After all, it’s really part of our instinctual nature – if you were rejected back when our great ancestors roamed the earth, that was a matter of life and death; staying with your tribe was really the only way to survive.
Luckily, we no longer have to scavenge for food and wear loin cloths; still, that fear of rejection has carried over. So, I challenge you to be brave and invite someone to do something – it could be a date, but it could also just be inviting a friend over for coffee or out of lunch. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but the idea is just to put yourself out there and seek out human connection. I’m doing this right now on a large scale with wedding planning and it’s been pretty enlightening; imagine my fear of not just inviting one, but 130 people to do something! Let’s just say it’s definitely taken me a bit of extra courage to get through this. 🙂
#4: Say what’s on your mind. This is something I’m personally trying to work on right now. As an introvert and a writer, I usually live from the “inside out.” I sort of live in my own world and have deep thoughts and conversations to myself on a moment-by-moment basis.
This means that when I communicate outwardly, I triple-think before I speak, and often edit myself. It just takes me longer to process things when I’m expressing myself aloud. This sometimes comes across as me lacking self confidence or not being sure about myself or what I have to say, and it affects my ability to speak clearly and articulately.
I find this ironic because in my mind (and in real life), I write long-form prose on the daily, and I’m quite articulate. Still, speaking my mind is much more difficult because I’m often considering what others will think of me, how my message will be perceived, if I’m saying something correctly, or if someone might be upset by what I have to say.
So I’m challenging myself to be brave and say what’s on my mind more often than not (vs. filtering myself), and I’d invite you to join me. For all you Instagrammers out there, think of it as a real-life #nofilter activity. 🙂 I think you’ll be impressed with the changes you find this creates in your life.
#5: Figure out what your dream job is.
This is a slightly larger task than the other three suggestions, but I saved it for last because I think it’s the most valuable. How many of you are currently in a job or career path that you aren’t crazy about? How many of you wake up feeling less-than-enthused about the day ahead? How many of you find your mind wandering about a passion or a lifelong dream that you’ve had to be a veterinarian or a college professor, only to snap yourself back into reality once again?
If I honestly had to guess, I’d say ¾ of Americans are unhappy with their current profession, feeling like “there’s gotta be more than this,” or not doing what they’d like to be doing. So, my suggestion here in #4 is NOT to jump ship from your 9-5 and sell all your worldly possessions (please don’t). Instead, it’s simply to become aware and give yourself permission to daydream a little bit. If you could be doing anything in the world – if money and time and kids and obligations didn’t matter – what would it be? Just, reconnect with your passion a little bit. We’ve become so complacent in our society and with what we’re “supposed” to do, that to me, considering the possibilities for doing something we really love is one of the bravest things you could do.
So get out there and be brave! I bet you’ll start feeling so much better.