'You are so brave!'
This has been said to me many times in my life. Each time though, I did not feel brave. Bravery and being brave were often the last things on my mind.
Rather, I was simply doing what I felt I had to do at that time, in that moment.
What is brave?
Brave is defined as "Feeling or showing no fear. Not afraid." (Merriam-Webster)
When our son died I was told, "You are so brave." As if somehow by experiencing the sorrow and anguish of a dead child, I gained credibility as a 'brave person'. All I know is I didn’t feel brave then.
Far from it. I was afraid. I felt fear. And I showed that fear too.
By definition, I was not brave.
When we have lost our child, the last thing we feel is brave.
Rather, we feel scared, angry, grief-stricken and anxious.
We often have lost our sense of confidence, of womanhood, our sense of self. Feeling distraught and wishing to hide away from the world is common. Hide away from the confronting situation of seeing other pregnant women, of seeing mother's with their babies, when we have empty arms and aching hearts.
At these times, bravery is far from our mind and feels absent from our lives.
Being Brave is...
And yet. We ARE brave.
Coping with the loss of your child IS brave.
Turning up every day in the world when your heart is broken and your soul is in anguish is brave.
Sharing your story and sharing your pain is brave.
Wanting to remember your child and expecting others to do so can be brave.
Doing something different, taking a stand; these are brave.
Sometimes, just getting out of bed and getting dressed can feel brave. And that's Okay.
I don't want to be brave, I just want to feel like me again
You don't really want to be brave, you just want to feel like yourself again. But, you also feel you have lost all sense of how to step back into that confident women.
In order to regain that sense of self, sense of confidence, even our sense of womanhood, and sense of purpose, we need to step out. We need to step up. We need to embrace and acknowledge our bravery.
Action is required
We need to take action.
Even teenie-tiny action. But action of some sort is required to feel brave.
If you want to boost your feeling of self-confidence, and of feeling brave, the best way I know is to take a risk.
A small risk, but you do need to be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Anything that takes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you, even slightly, will have a confidence boosting effect. Whilst at the time you might feel uncomfortable, or even scared, afterwards the endorphins kick in, you will feel more confident and (spoiler alert!) much braver too.
If it all feels too much, and doing something brave or stepping out of your comfort zone terrifies you, start small. Really, start tiny.
There are many activities that can boost your feeling of bravery, without you even needing to let anyone else know, or even leave the house.
Starting small makes taking risks less scary.
Here are some very easy suggestions;
try new food
try a different type of exercise or sport
read a different author or new magazine
introduce yourself to a new parent at preschool or school
say yes to an invitation (that you would normally refuse)
visit a new place
All of these are little steps that can boost your feeling of self-confidence and lift your feeling of bravery too.
Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.
- Paulo Coehlo -
When you challenge yourself, you send a strong message to your subconscious that says, ‘I am worth the risk’. If you don’t change anything, nothing changes.
Being brave can feel hard. In fact it can feel impossible when you feel your world has been turned on its head and just remembering to breathe is challenging enough.
But we ARE brave.
We continue on, we show up. We do our best.
It’s okay to own that. Yes, own it! You are brave.
It's Okay to be Brave.
Wanting to feel brave and confident again, but need support to help get started? Get in touch and we can have a chat about what being brave means for you and how you can embrace it.
You might like to hear my story and how I faced my fears after the loss of my son.