How To Boost Your Bravery
We’re still in the thick of this thing, yet there is movement to start opening society up again. So there will come a time soon when we will start venturing out more, and each trip to the bookstore or walk through the park will require a summoning of courage. But what is bravery exactly and how to we foster it? How do we know what is a courageous act versus a foolish one? And what do we do when we feel our courage wavering?
What is bravery?
The common definition for bravery or courage you hear most often is the one from Franklin Roosevelt, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” This is a beautiful and admirable definition. Just because you have the sensation of fear around an act, it does not necessarily mean it’s the wrong way to go. Fear is our body’s way of telling us to pay attention, and sometimes, that means to stop and avoid a course of action. It is often also our reaction to the unknown, which in many ways is the safest place to be because it is where we are most creative and adaptable.
How do we know when we’re being brave or foolish?
Bravery is taking a moment when fear comes up to know the difference between when our inner voice is telling us to hold back and when to move forward. Foolishness is acting in ignorance. It’s moving forward without connection to one’s inner guidance. Often, when people act in this way the motivations are self-centered and coming from the individuality. It’s interesting, both the nurses and doctors on the frontlines and the protesters gathering without heeding social distancing are both experiencing fear and having to overcome it, and you might say that the protesters feel their cause is more important than their fear, but they are putting their individual needs over the health of others, which is more likely to be ego-driven. And bravery is not always acting, it can be not acting. Sometimes it takes bravery to say, “You know what, let’s cancel that event because I’m feeling a lot of inner hesitation.”
The magic words – “Move in that direction”
Sometimes we’ll feel pulled in the direction to do something and our fear will try to stomp it out immediately. Perhaps the voice in your head starts giving you all the reasons why–you’re not smart enough, you’ll fail anyway, it’s too hard, it’s too risky. That kind of self-talk would paralyze anyone. Whenever I feel like I should do something and my courage wavers, I just think these words – “Move in that direction.” Very rarely do you have to take the whole jump at once. And often things that seem like obstacles which deter you from starting in a direction sort themselves out once you move into action.
Just start taking steps in that direction, continually checking in with yourself along the way. When I first had the intuitive pull to go to India and learn to teach meditation, I couldn’t even think about it, it was so terrifying. But I could summon the courage to fill out the application, and then sign up for the first pre-requisite…you get the idea. Sometimes, you were just meant to go in that direction for a while and it evolves into something else entirely and sometimes your intuition was spot on and by the time you are confronted with what scares you, you have more conviction.
How to develop a strong sense of intuition
Conviction to act comes from clarity and clarity comes from having a strong sense of intuition. How to foster a strong sense of intuition comes from repeatedly getting quiet enough to let one’s awareness go to the source of intuition in meditation, and then getting practice acting on that inner voice. With practice, the more sensitive and familiar you become with the fine level of feeling that is your guide. The more you follow your intuition, the more evidence you gather that it leads you where you are meant to go.
Delphine's middle name is bravery