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On Being Brave

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin

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A lot of people say I’m very brave. Some have even called me ballsy. One friend described me as being someone that seems like I am conservative and afraid of trying new things but  when they get to know me, they realize it’s really not the case.

Someone else told me that I’m brave but not so bold. It’s true. I’m a risk taker, and I love adventure but I’m also terrified at times to really live big. I’ve lived on the safe side of risk. Daring but not delving. Jumping but not flying. I take enough of a risk that it’s considered daring, but not enough to actually go all in.

Until recently.

I got tired of playing it safe. I truly felt it was time to bloom. What I didn’t expect was the amount of backlash and terror I’ve had to overcome in order to take these steps. Walking through this fire has been the most exhilarating, painful and rewarding risk I’ve ever taken.

The fear is real. The trembling, the frantic feelings, the anxiety. At least at first it is, until slowly I’ve come to realize that it’s safer than I thought. The man behind the curtain isn’t real.

What I’ve also learned is that it’s okay to take baby steps. But, it’s funny because the baby steps are actually the most difficult. What I forget sometimes is that it’s “normal” to be anxious about certain things. I somehow expect that I “shouldn’t” feel anxious or nervous. I’ve jumped over the discomfort because I didn’t want to feel it.

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I wonder why are we so hard on ourselves for feeling the natural feelings that come up in different situations? Why are we afraid to feel our own fears and embrace ourselves for exactly who we are? When I feel the fear now, I totally understand why I wanted to jump. But it is precisely in these steps that I am learning to be truly courageous.

Now, I’m really being adventurous, not with the risk I’m taking but with feeling my way through the fear of doing it, and not taking unnecessary risks. I’m testing my limits, holding back when necessary, and taking steps forward when I feel ready. I’m playing the edge instead. I’m taking it nice and slow, and now I am learning to ENJOY the process and it’s opening up a whole new world.

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