Being Brave When You Don't Feel Brave

Being Brave When You Don't Feel Brave


At any given point in time, my mind is spinning with ideas and ambitions. Passion projects I want to start, books I want to write, and even small businesses I want to establish. But most of these things I don’t finish (or even start). When I consider why that is, I’ve realized it comes down to one thing: Fear.

I want so badly to be more courageous with my pursuits. I want to be able to move towards my goals with confidence. I wish I could just “be brave” and do the dang thing. But it seems that in so many areas of life, fear plagues me.

I’m fairly certain I’m not alone in my struggle with fear. In fact, I’ve seen how fear trickles into hidden areas of all our lives. We are scared of failing, scared of imperfection, scared of not measuring up, and scared of letting people see the ways we don’t quite meet the standards we’ve set for ourselves.

I get it.

We want to portray the best side of ourselves. We want people to see the good in us, particularly the parts we have prettied and perfected. And we definitely don’t want to fail. Failure can make us feel small and insignificant. It can feel impossible to live bravely amidst our failures and fears.

But I want to submit an idea that might be contrary to what many of us might think. 

Maybe bravery isn’t the absence of fear. Maybe bravery has nothing to do with whether you excel or fail. Maybe, in a way, bravery is found in letting go, acknowledging your limitations, admitting your fears…and stepping forward anyway.

For me bravery might look like pressing “publish” on imperfect words or taking the first steps of starting that half-baked project I’ve placed on the back-burner. For you bravery might look like applying for that job even though you’re nervous, running that race even though you’re scared, or giving that speech even though your palms are sweating and your heart is racing. Regardless of what it looks like, there’s something incredibly valuable in stepping bravely into a space amidst the fears that plague you. 

There’s the courage that is inherent in working towards something even when you’re scared. There’s the reminder that our feelings don’t have to dictate our efforts. There’s the exhilaration of doing something even though you’re absolutely terrified. And there’s the worthwhile process of learning to have grace for yourself, even when you fail.

When we hold back on doing the hard thing until we “feel” brave, we can miss out on all of this. 

And so maybe the “standard” you’ve set for yourself won’t be met, maybe you won’t get that job, maybe you won’t win that race. Maybe you’ll fail miserably…or maybe you won’t.

Regardless of the outcome and despite our pressing fears, we can courageously step into life, we can embrace our imperfections, and we can even fail bravely, knowing that we can sink into the self-love and grace that is waiting on the other side.


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