I’m excited to welcome my friend, Megan Byrd to the blog today. This is our 7th post in the “What Being Brave Looks Like” series and I’m thrilled to include Megan’s wise words about using the power of love to motivate us to be brave.
A few years ago, I replied to a request from one of my favorite authors to join the launch team for her latest book. Without a doubt, the greatest blessing that resulted from that decision is the incredible community of strong, talented women I met there. A smaller subset of that group started our own group, For the Love of Writing, to encourage one another in our identity as writers and communicators. My “writing sisters” are the perfect example of the real life, intentional community possible on the internet. Megan is part of that group; a faithful encourager, a beautiful wife and mama, a talented writer. Be sure to click over to her blog after you read this post and hear more from her! Please welcome my friend, Megan Byrd!
Allowing Love to Be Stronger than Fear
There are some actions that nearly everyone would define as brave – serving in the military or rescuing another person from a burning house. Other actions may be considered ordinary or easy to many people and would not be easily identified as bravery. For one person, singing on stage can be an exciting thrill. For another, singing out loud, even in a large group, is terrifying. For that person, singing “Happy birthday to you” at a party could be considered an act of bravery.
Bravery is defined as “the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral courage to face danger, fear, or difficulty.” Fear is universal; what causes it is not; therefore bravery does not manifest itself in only one way. Some people fear failure. Others fear ridicule. A number of people fear spiders or snakes. In each of these situations, being brave looks different.
If a person is afraid of failure then trying something new would be brave. Most people don’t succeed the first time they attempt a new task. I do not consider the culinary arts my strong suit but I do enjoy exploring new tastes and eating meals regularly. Consequently, I am usually willing to try new recipes but am shadowed by the fear that the meal will be a disaster. Sometimes that has been the case. Many times it has been a tasty and successful meal. Through practice, I have become willing to risk failure in the kitchen for the potential of success.
For a person afraid of ridicule or rejection, it can be a struggle to voice one’s opinion or reveal parts of her true self. The desire is approval so often a person will pretend to like or be what she think is expected rather than sharing what she really believes. It may stave off rejection, but it does not allow for true acceptance. It requires courage to be honest, to be willing to risk being made fun of or shunned for the possibility of being truly known and accepted. The potential reward is great, but the risk is equally huge.
Those who have a fear of a particular animal can also demonstrate bravery. A parent who ventures through the reptile exhibit at the zoo with their lizard-loving child despite his fear of snakes is being brave. A person who hates spiders but accompanies a friend through a haunted house full of webs and creepy crawlies is being courageous as well. The woman who kills a cockroach even though its speed, appearance, and the crunching sound wig her out is being brave.
Love is a leading component of bravery. Many people will take bold actions on behalf of those they love. People rush into dangerous situations to rescue others. People will speak hard truth and risk rejection if they believe it will benefit someone they care about. Love is stronger than fear.Love is stronger than fear. Click To Tweet
Sometimes the hardest person to be brave for is ourselves. We often prioritize others’ feelings and needs over our own. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as we are not harming ourselves by doing so. If we consistently neglect our own needs and feelings, eventually we will be run down, empty, and of no help to anyone.
For many of us, it is an act of bravery to practice self-care; to be willing to find ways and make time to care for our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Perhaps that looks like stepping away from toxic relationships that make us feel bad or suck us dry of all of our energy and emotion. It could mean finding and sticking with a fun form of exercise, getting enough sleep, eating more fruits and vegetables, or talking to a counselor. The forms of self-care are many and individual.For many of us, it is an act of bravery to practice self-care. Click To Tweet
I am decent at practicing some aspects of self-care. I get regular exercise, eat a fairly balanced diet, make time to read and write (my favorite ways to relax and decompress), and pray regularly. There is one area where I really suck and that is sharing my emotions.
I am uncomfortable sharing difficult feelings with other people. I will often hold in frustration or hurt until it gets too much and I feel overwhelmed. Then, instead of sharing my feelings, I will turn inward even more and cut myself off from others. Rather than reaching out and sharing my feelings, which can be a catalyst to healing, I do the opposite, believing the lie that no one cares. Obviously no one will notice something is wrong if I don’t share my feelings, so how can someone care about what they don’t know? I am slowly learning to voice negative feelings with trustworthy and safe people. I don’t yet know if healing will come but I do know that keeping my struggle inside just makes it worse. Right now, sharing my emotional struggle is my act of bravery.
Is there an area in your life that needs an act of bravery?
Megan Byrd is an author, blogger, and SAHM. She lives with her husband, two children, and cat outside of Atlanta, GA. Megan likes to read, travel, exercise, and have deep one-on-one conversations with good friends. Find her at MeganByrd.net.