Monday, April 30, 2012

It takes guts to be your kind of awesome

Originally posted June 16, 2011

The first time I went skydiving I felt brave. At least that's what I told myself. I told myself I had guts. I was a brave gal. What I was really feeling was peer pressure and a whole lot of freak-out. But when you are strapped to someone larger than you who is headed for the door you kind of just go with it. When I landed I was elated. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
But bravery? Maybe not.
When I think of the word "bravery," I picture war heroes, cancer patients, and firefighters. But then there is another group: people who are unapologetically themselves. Now that, friends, takes guts. It takes insane amounts of courage to be exactly who you are. Think about this with me for a minute.
  1. These authentic beings do not let the fads of culture sway them.
  2. They do not allow peer pressure to make them do crazy things (like jump out of planes, unless they really want to), or be anything other than what they are.
  3. These folks have tried new things. How else could they find where their true passion lies.
  4. Authentic individuals do not apologize for who they are.
  5. Even when faced with loneliness or being alone these people cannot betray who and what they are.
All of these things take incredible courage. It's hard to let the opinions of others roll off our backs. It is hard to look in the mirror and be fine with what is there. Especially when the world may argue that the way we look is wrong. It's hard not to make excuses for being different. It's hard to just be you without justification. It is so hard to think that being you could alienate you from some. And it takes a lot of courage.
And then there's that whole trying new things bit. If you've always been marginally interested in karate, but never attended a class assuming it's not really for "your type" you are cheating yourself. You are taking away a chance to discover something that could light up your life and make your heart sing. But holy cow it's hard to walk through that door.
Trial and error is one of the great gifts of this life though. When we try new things we may fail. We may despise our karate class, or we may find a new true love. But until you master your fears and find the courage you need to step forward you may never actually meet the awesome person that you are.
Let's just say it like it is: It takes one brave person to be unapologetically themselves. I like those people. Here's hoping I find the courage to become one.
This post was written as part of the Self Discovery, Word by Word series. This month's marvelous hostess is Dr. Udall-Weiner from The Body and the Brood. Check out her post on the word of her choosing, "Bravery" here. Want to participate? Click here for details.