Today I want to talk to you about how necessary bravery is to those of us on spiritual journeys.
It takes bravery to dare to dream about the life we want rather than the one we have. Even if our lives are already pretty damn good.
It takes bravery to be willing to feel your emotions rather than smothering them with a vice or bad habit like overeating, smoking, drinking, drugs, overworking, etc.
For example, I recently had a problem with my website that kept me from being able to post. It also kept my podcasts from playing directly from my site.
Considering I use my website and podcasts to communicate with all of you, and I depend on both of those to continue to build my business…
I was, shall we say, a bit perturbed.
In the past I would’ve done what life coach Brooke Castillo terms as buffering. I would’ve loaded up on unhealthy food – probably focused heavily on a concentration of chocolate – and buried my annoyance and frustration with tons of sugar.
But now, I work to not buffer. I feel my emotions. I let myself experience the full brunt of them.
Is it hard?
But is it worth it?
What I’ve discovered is that these emotions – uncomfortable though they absolutely are – are totally doable.
I can experience these negative emotions and survive.
I’ve realized that feeling an emotion – even a yucky one – is okay.
I’ll live. I’ll be perfectly fine.
And every time that I choose to experience that emotion rather than drown it with food, I feel better afterwards. Stronger. More confident in my abilities.
Today I was annoyed and frustrated, and I let myself actually feel that way. I didn’t fight it. And after a little while, those feelings dissipated into nothing.
I’m really proud of myself for discovering that.
Because I did that today, I know the next time I feel stressed or upset or anything else, I can weather that emotional storm without indulging in eating a whole bunch of crap.
Will experiencing negative emotion still suck?
But you know what sucks more?
Packing on weight because I’m resisting feeling what I’m feeling.
When you resist feeling something, it makes that emotion build and feel so much worse than it has to.
Let yourself feel whatever it is, then release it. You’ll realize than you’re way stronger than you realized.
It’s pretty extraordinary.
Bravery is also necessary when it comes to setting goals and committing to keeping them.
It takes bravery to take the actions necessary to follow our dreams.
Now bravery can be loud and bold. Out there. It can be the “no guts no glory” kind.
Or bravery can be quieter and more subtle. Like keeping that promise to ourselves about not overeating at dinner. Like committing to walk a quarter mile so we’ll later be able to walk longer distances.
Or jog those distances.
Or even run those distances.
If we want to grow and evolve, bravery is a prerequisite.
And often, bravery means taking action.
The important thing about the actions we take is that we’re in a good vibrational place when we take them. That we feel good before we act.
And then it takes bravery to trust in ourselves enough to go ahead and complete that action.
Because our minds are going to make us second guess ourselves. We’ll get ready to do something, and our brains will scream at us to stop. To go back. To retreat. To give up.
Because life is risky and dangerous. Because our brain thinks anything and everything will make us die.
Even if it’s just eating some kale!
New things feel unfamiliar and scary to our primitive minds. But it’s not our mind’s fault. Our brain developed during a time when our survival depended on hiding and staying in the confines of safety at all times.
Back then, caution was the better part of valor.
But now, that sweet but simplistic brain of ours reacts to new ideas in the same way it once reacted to a lion roaring outside our cave. It wants us to stay put. It wants us to maintain the status quo. It wants us to stay safe.
Even if safe means we don’t ever really get what we want. Even if safe means we don’t achieve any goals we might have. Even if safe means we don’t follow our dreams.
We stay in that job we don’t enjoy. We stay in a relationship that leaves us unhappy. We continue a bad habit we full well know could kill us earlier than necessary.
Because our brains don’t know any better.
But we can teach our brains to be braver. We can retrain our brains to think and react differently to the same stimuli.
Anger doesn’t have to equal screaming.
Stress doesn’t have to equal a half gallon of ice cream.
Fear doesn’t have to equal staying at home in our sweats when we could’ve gone out on what promised to be a really cool date.
The more often you use it, the easier it is for your brain to accept. And eventually, doing the brave and more courageous thing will feel better and more natural than not doing it.
What is one small way you could be braver in your life? Anyone who shares in the comments will be given my Defining Your Dream Cheatsheet.