Being brave can be a tricky idea. For some, being brave means not being afraid. For others, being brave means being scared and facing the problem head on anyway. Essentially, it’s a moveable feast and means different things to different people. Personally, finding my brave has been a huge learning curve. And it continues to be. Being brave has meant different things to me at different times.
When my anxiety is high, being brave can mean facing the challenge anyway. Pushing myself further than I thought possible. Or that I was comfortable with. When my mood is low or I’m finding things hard, being brave can mean asking for help. These are the times I’m least likely to ask for help. But ironically need it most. Making the simple act of asking feel like an insurmountable task. Perhaps some of my experiences may resonate with you. But you will have your own ideas about bravery and the times that you found your brave.
For 4 Ways to Reframe Anxiety read here.
Facing the Challenge
My most anxiety inducing experiences have caught me off guard. Experiences which I was looking forward to resulting in panic attacks and other distressing symptoms. Whilst life events where I expected to feel anxious passed easily. My dread of the anxiety I expected ironically becoming the anxiety itself. But, when the anxiety has struck, I have often pushed through rather than cancel or postpone the event. This has been by no means easy. And I’ve needed to sit with a huge amount of discomfort and pain to do so. Whilst trying to balance looking after myself through the anxious transition.
However, once I’m through the anxiety I usually find that I’m glad I persevered. And that the satisfaction of the achievement and the enjoyment of the event once anxiety has passed has helped the anxiety to reduce overtime and allowed me to find my brave. Making each subsequent event easier to face with the knowledge that I can and I will. However, I will note that there have been times when pushing myself would be a step to far. At those times, looking after myself and perhaps cancelling, not something I find easy to do, are a sign of bravery too.
For How to Practise Deep Breathing for Stress and Anxiety read here.
Accepting and asking for help can feel like a huge challenge. Whilst logically it should be easy to ask for help. Life sets us up with the expectation to cope alone. We learn to always be moving onwards and upwards. Always succeeding and achieving. And to do so by ourselves. Whilst there is certainly a new drive to look after oneself thanks to our increasing conversations about mental health. These still continue to be at odds with the general culture of many societies. Where the focus continues to be on independence and self-sufficiency.
For Best Practise Supporting Someone in Distress read here.
Thus, times when I need support the most can also be the times it can feel hardest to ask for it. When my mood is low I tend to isolate myself from others. Depriving myself of the support network I so desperately need. Likewise, when I’m being self-critical or my self-esteem is low. I’m more aware than ever that many people continue, albeit wrongly, to view asking for help as a weakness. And therefore, I distance myself from asking or accepting support in order to not feel like a failure once more.
We can also make ourselves vulnerable by asking for support. Opening ourselves up to possible rejection if we are misunderstood or support is denied. All of these obstacles can make asking for help difficult. And therefore a true sign of bravery. After all, admitting that you can’t do everything alone or that you’re having a hard time is not easy to do. But, I have found my brave in this area too. By being more open about my mental health and when things are hard generally. And knowing that I have found people who would much rather that I share my burden than suffer in silence.
Have you found your brave? When did you need it? And what has helped you? As always, let me know below!