Do you want to feel braver? The next time you are in a situation that seems frightening (not dangerous!), consider what you are thinking about and telling yourself about the situation you face. Similarly, it’s amazing how our brain can turn a relatively straightforward situation into a national emergency or something out of a Martin Scorsese movie. We all have the potential to over dramatise.
That being said, you might have noticed your not as brave as you’d like to be. It could be you are scared of picking up spiders, or lack of courage could be preventing you from going for that job promotion. Bravery is complex and means different things to different people. However, by addressing the way of your thinking, this can overcome any stumbling blocks you are currently facing.
Do you want to feel braver? Follow these 3 steps.
Avoid Negative Language
Be mindful of the vocabulary you are using. Avoid universal or negative language such as, “I could never”, “it’s not my thing”, “I’m not good enough” or “I’ve never done it before” etc. Remember, as kids, we did new stuff almost every day and thought anything of it. Words are powerful and can help yourself put on a ‘brave suit’ so that even if it you don’t feel it, you can ‘power up’ to get mentally and physically ready. In addition, they can work against you too especially when you put yourself down.
Steer clear of negative future talk. We can be our worst self-limiter. Ask yourself what the real risks are. Be honest and logical! Could your action lead to death? Unlikely. Are you going to lose a limb or a loved one? Probably not. Chances are you risk looking a little foolish, maybe, or you may experience hurt pride or a dented ego, but these things are not terminal or tragic. Your choice may risk a little money or time, but weigh up the pros and cons and take considered action.
Access Your ‘Brave Suit’
Certainly, most of us can recall times in our life where we have demonstrated bravery. Perhaps you decided to skydive for charity. Or asked someone you liked out for dinner. Or even intervened in an argument to prevent someone from being bullied. Whatever the situation, really reflect on those times and recognise your bravery. It didn’t just happen by accident. You created that state of bravery. Think about what you felt and experienced. Were you upset at how someone was being treated? Is it determination or was it stubbornness that was driving you? Are you competitive or indignant?
Really engage with that experience again so you can familiarise yourself with the resources and feelings that triggered your bravery. Once identified, the combination of emotions and feelings you experienced in the past can be used again to create a sort of “bravery cape” that you can then decide to put on at any time. This is your bravery super-hero persona. Whenever you need to be brave you simply grab your brave suit to help you navigate a difficult or scary situation.
Remember, the body and mind are robust. They are built to withstand the good, the bad and the ugly. Some people are propelled into situations they would never willingly get into if they had the choice, such as job loss, a cancer diagnosis or loss of a parent or close relative. Above all, our body and mind naturally adapt so they can deal with adversity. Those who come through times of deep personal tragedy and trauma often look back with surprise at how they made it through–but they did. We all have these reserves.
Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy
Human beings are remarkable. We are all capable of survival and regeneration, especially when the chips are down. But beware of getting in your own way.When it comes to fear, you are your own worst enemy and can become a master of excuses. For example, “Maybe next time!”, or “I can’t my back hurts”…
False indignation can also spring from nowhere. Such as, “I don’t want to and no one is going to force me to do something I don’t want to do!” Recognise this is a normal response to fear, but it doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Think about what it would take for you to do something different or challenging and start removing the obstacles, real or perceived!
To Sum Up
If you opened this article feeling as if you lack bravery, I hope my above advice has shown you how easy it is to turn things around. It mostly comes down to what we tell ourselves. As simple as that sounds, having the right mindset can go a long way versus telling ourselves “I can’t do that”. So, next time you aren’t feeling very brave (and you’ve weighed up any risks!) give my advice a try.
Are you ready to don your brave suit and fly? My latest book, Your Life Your Way, will give you the tools you need to do just that.