Bravery Isn’t Lack of Fear: It’s Action Despite Fear

The Huffington Post had an article today titled The 8 Bravest Things I Ever Said. I’m intrigued.

I have to say I disagree with snarking at people parked in a handicapped zone unless you know 100% that said person isn’t handicapped AND they don’t have a placard. Plenty of nosy-nannies snark at people who have every right to park in handicapped parking just because they don’t “look” handicapped (I presume that means in their pea-brain functioning that only someone in a wheelchair or with a cane requires close-to-the-door parking). There are other reasons (not always physically evident) for people to park there.

Regardless of my rant, I like the concept of this one. For me, the bravest things I’ve SAID have been the unequivocal “yes” and “no” depending on the situation.

Yes means allowing yourself to risk, to love, to give fully, to experience new things at the risk of great failure. I said yes to my husband. I said yes to my dogs, to traveling (alone in some cases) to all sorts of weird and cool places. I’ve recognized the potential of jobs (even as stepping stones) and taken chances on them: in a few cases I discovered they were horrible long-term decisions, but they still forced growth. I’m an introvert, so I have to consciously choose to say “yes” to a lot of things when my first reaction is to hide and say no. I like the idea of choosing a few things that scare the hell out of me to do in a year: it’s how I got published, it’s how I eventually screw up the courage to do the things I know will be good for me in the long run.

No means recognizing your limits. Enough, after all, is enough, and it takes a shit-ton of bravery to DO something about a situation when you know it isn’t right. It takes bravery to follow your inner voice when it says “dude, that’s a terrible idea” and you know that voice is right. Change is remarkably difficult: we are, after all, creatures of habit. It’s so terribly easy to stay in a miserable relationship, job, life situation because you already know how to cope with it. Saying “no” to that situation and starting a new one is an unknown: it’s a risk. And it’s really fucking brave to say “that’s enough, I won’t be this way/be treated this way/be this miserable” and move on.

My top 3 bravest moments to date (those which have utterly changed my path):

1) Marrying my husband. Until I met him I never wanted to get married because I never wanted to share that much of myself with anyone. It’s been an interesting up and down ride for the past decade that has changed me for the better in many ways.

2) Going to Ireland on my own. 100% life changing adventure that scared the shit out of me and proved a great many things to myself. Falling utterly in love with the country helped.

3) Submitting my writing for public consumption (via this blog, magazines, stories, and the ever-elusive novel I need to finish).

What are YOUR top 3?

3 thoughts on “Bravery Isn’t Lack of Fear: It’s Action Despite Fear

  1. 1. Auditioning for Festival. I was extremely introverted in High School and at the ripe old age of 39 I decided to audition. I almost backed out. I stayed up all night before trying to decide what to do as at the time we were told to do 1-3 minutes of \”something\”. I ended up writing a poem about my fear and titled it \”Am I as good as I wish to be?\” It worked! I didn't even have to recite it…I just read it out loud. When I made it in, it was truly life changing for me, I gained confidence in my ability to do improv and in myself. The biggest thing though was meeting and becoming friends with so very many wonderful, awesome people in the world!!2. My decision to go thru my first divorce. I languished over it for several years and finally got up the courage to do it. I wasn't happy for a long time, I still loved my children's dad, but we had grown so far apart and no longer had common interests. Yes, there are still times that I wonder who and where I would be now if I had stayed.3. Going on a cruise to the Caribbean. Before that wonderful trip, I had never gone any farther than Minnesota, Iowa or Wisconsin. It was also the first time flying. I absolutely loved flying and being on the ship. Hopefully I will be doing it again.


  2. Totally agree that people shouldn't snark at those in handicapped parking spots. I know a girl who was allergic to cold weather but healthy in every other way. She rarely used her parking placard, but on those cold Iowa days, you'd better believe she would use it. If people would have ever dared to say something to her I know she would have felt HORRIBLE.And I love your top 3. I'm going to need to think for a little while before I can come up with my own!!


  3. That question is kinda scary!I don't really think I do brave things. I just do things. Sometimes they are stupid things. Sometimes they aren't. But I guess sharing your real self with anyone is pretty brave. So, I guess I don't do that often, but when I do, that….


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