On Being Brave

Over the past few years, I have moved away from making resolutions for New Year’s, and instead, I pick a word that will influence everything I do. This word isn’t just any word—it is something I want to embody, to strive towards, to be. For example, ‘discipline’ was one of the words from past years. That word got me through a year full of exhibitions and commitments. Last year, I chose ‘present,’ as a reminder to be present in everything. This helped during one of the roughest years we've had.

I have thought much this past year about my strengths and weaknesses, and reflecting on these has brought me to thinking much about bravery. What does it mean to be brave?  For me, it is not so much about acts of heroism, but about standing up for oneself. Standing up for your right to better pay, good friendships, honesty from family and friends. Bravery goes hand-in-hand with my saying, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” And sometimes, it simply means doing what needs to get done because it is the right thing to do (no matter how much it hurts).

Often, I consider the needs of others above my own. I will let them win to avoid conflict. I will sweep issues under the rug to avoid upsetting people. I take on more than my fair share simply because I want things to get done. I forgive when I should really just let go.

So this year, my mantra is, “Be Brave.” Already, I have stood my ground when my trust in someone was shaken to the core. I let go of a friendship held on to for far too long. I am stepping into a new role at work with more responsibility. I am paying down debt and setting myself up for success. Probably the most painful act so far has been putting down our sweet kitty, Sammy, but we knew that doing so was giving him the best gift we could. More on that soon.

Bravery takes all shapes and forms—its definition changes depending on who you are and what your goals are. So, what does it mean for you to be brave, and how will you do so this year?



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