Being brave is universally celebrated. Everyone wants to be brave. Everyone likes to hear about bravery. We love action shows and superheros because of the bravery we see in the heros.
Being brave requires vulnerability, something at stake, or something to lose. If there is nothing to lose, then it requires no great courage to act. Bravery aligns with values. acting to uphold our values when they are threatened is brave. Bravery often involves heart. We care about our values. We see them being threatened. We act even though we might lose something we value. In a war or action movie, the thing the hero might lose is their life.
What is it to be brave in our own lives? With no life or death struggle, no “bad guys” to overcome, and no one to blow up – how do we show bravery day by day?
To speak up for your values might make you the outsider, unwanted, unliked, shunned. Humans evolved from tribes and we still have long dependent childhoods. To not be liked by the dominant opinion in the room is to risk being ostracized. Aloneness equals death. It takes great vulnerability and bravery to speak up when staying silent seems safer.
We find that the thing at stake is often looking good. We each have a way or ways we want to the world to see us. We want the people in our lives to perceive us as strong, good, productive, happy, capable, and nice. We have an identity. And when that identity is threatened it feels like we’re going to die. We want to be accepted.
Today I’m wrestling with being brave via sharing what matters to me with the people in my life. Sharing with you right now. I wasn’t going to write about bravery today but when I sat down at my keyboard, bravery is what I wanted to explore with you. Opening up a piece of my heart and letting down the wall I keep between you and I.
The wall is designed to keep us both safe. If I take it down, I fear that you will not like me and you will reject me. Or you will totally fall in love with me and then I will be buried under the collective weight of your desire for my time, attention, and care. It’s safer to let you in a little but keep you out most of the time. To reach out when it’s convenient for me. That’s not pretty and I don’t like saying it.
This fear of being rejected or buried is part of what fuels my work. I love the clear container of our cuddling and coaching sessions. I love that for the 90 minutes you are here I get to love you, shower you with my attention and care, and then you pay me and go home. I don’t have to keep you forever and you don’t have to like the way I parent my children. We get to have very separate lives that overlap for this one beautiful hour where everything else can fade away and I get to Be. With. You.
I love to be with you. I love that you let me into your inner world. You share with me what you care about, where you struggle, the conflicting voices inside of you that pull and push you, and the dreams you have for your life and relationships. I love you. By being with you as you are without trying to fix, change, or figure you out I am showering you with love. This feels wonderful to both of us. You get to be brave where it’s safe. You get to be vulnerable and let me in. And I get to reward you for your bravery by accepting and loving you just as you are.