The world is a big place filled with threats, both real and perceived, lurking in every corner. These shouldn’t stop us from seizing the day and living our lives to the fullest.
Bravery is one of the most important aspects of human existence. With it, you can accomplish almost everything.
But not everyone of us is born with superhero-level courage. Sometimes we have to start low and build our way up.
Are you ready to become a brand new version of yourself? Here are ten practical steps that will show you how to be brave.
1) Acknowledge Your Fears
Let’s get this straight: bravery isn’t the absence of fear but the ability to move on despite it.
Too many people believe the opposite and think that the best way to move on from your fear is to shut it out, ignore that it exists, and pretend that it’s not happening.
It’s an unhealthy way to deal with your fears and it doesn’t help you in the long run.
Hiding from your feelings makes the object of fear seem more massive and elusive. The first step, then, is to acknowledge your fears and accept that they exist.
“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
― George R.R. Martin
2) Specify Your Fear
Once you have accepted that your fear exists, it’s time to understand it better.
Most people suffer through years of anxiety without ever understanding what is making them afraid.
Let’s say you are generally anxious when it comes to public speaking so you never give it a shot. In reality it’s not the speaking aspect you are afraid of but the preparation part, which is something you can address.
Knowing what you’re afraid of helps you deal with these emotions. You get to understand what is causing it and when you do, it’s much easier to see that your fears can be mitigated.
3) Study Your Fear
At one point in our lives, we are going to be afraid of doing something because we worry about the consequences. Maybe it’s going to graduate school, maybe it’s moving to a new place.
These significant life changes are often scary because we never know what’s waiting on the other side.
You can’t look into the future but you can always prepare for it. Most of our fears are rooted in instability and uncertainty. Studying what you’re afraid of trains your brain to anticipate the event positively. This makes the fear more familiar and less intimidating.
“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
― C. JoyBell C.
4) Find Ways To Control It
As you become more and more comfortable with your object of fear, it becomes more manageable.
No longer is it the abstract and intangible thing that you once dreaded–it’s now something that you can specify, understand, and eventually, control.
Again, bravery is all about functioning despite your fear.
The key in learning how to be brave is by slowly realizing that there are elements of it that you can control.
For example, if you are afraid of driving, control your fear of accidents by educating yourself with safe driving techniques. You can also install several safety devices on your vehicle to make yourself feel more secure.
It’s never been about making the fear disappear; you take the fear for what it is and turn it into something that you can manage.
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
― Jim Morrison
5) Find Role Models
There are billions of people on the planet and at least one of them experiences the same fears as you.
And it’s not just normal, everyday people that have to deal with anxieties.
Even artists, industry leaders, politicians, and other famous people have similar fears as everyone else.
History is filled with people who have succeeded in the face of adversity, which you can use as a sort of inspiration.
Turning to a role model can boost your morale. You don’t have to seek wisdom from popular people alone.
Reach out to friends and family to see who have been through some tough times and listen to how they were able to get through them.
When you expose yourself to these stories, you get the opportunity to model your behavior after someone who has succeeded despite their fears, and find new and creative ways to deal with yours.
6) Embrace and Challenge Negativity
Bravery is more than just courage. It requires flexibility, persistence, and resilience.
You can’t combat your fears by becoming tough alone. Develop mental resilience by consistently challenging negative thoughts.
As you expose yourself to your fears and anxieties, it’s only normal for your brain to begin second-guessing itself.
Even as you develop healthy mental habits, you will inevitably fall into doubt once in a while, and it’s your job to make sure you don’t fall all the way over.
Challenge your thoughts by examining them.
For example, if you’re worrying about a business pitch you are doing, go over every part of the pitch to make sure you have practiced it to the best of your ability.
Then evaluate the situation rationally: there is no way for you to mess up a well-prepared pitch. Slowly chip at the anxieties by giving objective answers to your subjective fears.
Here’s a great quote from Eckhart Tolle:
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
7) Practice Self-Affirmations
Perfectionism is one of the many pitfalls of human ambition.
Too much of it can take a toll on your mental health and inhibit you from moving forward.
Practice perfectionism within reasonable grounds to avoid feelings of insecurity. Do self-affirmation rituals like journaling and meditation to keep your momentum going.
“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”
― Christina Baldwin
8) Set Milestones
After developing a technique to handle your fear, you will eventually have to treat it face-to-face. All the practicing you did, all the stories you gained inspiration from boil down to this.
It is never easy to go and do the scariest thing in your life, and no one’s expecting you to go from 0 to a hundred in just a few days so why not start low and slow with milestones?
Pave your way, slowly but surely, to your “end goal”. This can be the thing you are most afraid of. These milestones will not only remind you of your steady progress, but will also act as another training platform for you.
9) Exceed Your Own Expectations
Once you start moving forward with your goals, it’s time to start exceeding your own expectations.
You know what they say: sometimes the bravest thing you can do is to jump forward with your eyes closed.
Stop anticipating everything and just do things. Jump at new opportunities and seek out experiences you otherwise would have been too scared to try out.
Start expanding your comfort zone through novelty.
10) Stay Brave
Lastly, you have to remember what this is all about.
Bravery isn’t an overnight project and it can be so easy to stumble back and start over.
No matter what step you might be on, it’s crucial that you keep at it and continue to move forward. Trudge on with confidence and you’ll become braver, one day at a time.
“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.
That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”
― Veronica Roth, Allegiant
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