“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” ~ John A. Shedd
Brave has become one of my favorite words.
My younger daughter introduced our family to the word brave. Growing up, she often processed her feelings out loud and needed a great deal of verbal encouragement. When she was little and had about worn me out one day with her worries, complaints, aches, pains, and fears, I told her that I didn’t know what else I could do for her. I had no more answers, and I was at a loss for how to help her. Whatever it was, I couldn’t fix it. She said these words to me, which have continued to be our mantra to one another:
Mom, I just need you to tell me I’m a brave soldier.
As she grew up and faced some difficult circumstances, I said those words over and over and over until she claimed them for herself. She continued to push herself forward in spite of her fears and learned to surround herself with others who will applaud and encourage her attempts at valor. For her nineteenth birthday last year, I gave her a bracelet with the words “Be Brave” etched into a silver cuff–a concrete symbol of my words to her when I am too far away to speak the reminder out loud. I wear an identical bracelet as a reminder that I, too, am capable of courage.
Some days life feels overwhelming, and the path forward is not clear. It is tempting to stay stuck in the safe and familiar, even when the familiar is less than desirable. Being brave is hard work. Stepping out of our comfort zones, risking vulnerability, trying new things, pursuing our passions, and moving forward in spite of our fears often requires all the courage and resolve we can muster. In order to be successful, we would be wise to surround ourselves with those who name us brave and remind us we are meant for lives of risk and daring.
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