empathy

How to be brave without actually going to war

Photography by  Alli Wynn

Photography by Alli Wynn

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can be brave, usually we attribute this adjective to soldiers and people who save their neighbours from fires and those who jump in lakes to save drowning dogs. And yes, they are brave. But if I don’t do all that, can’t I be brave?
So, I came up with these points:
1. “Being brave is being fearless.”
No, they’re really not the same. I always thought if I’m not scared of *something* anymore, I’ll be a brave person then. But as it turns out, there are things in life that you’re scared of that aren’t as concrete as spiders, drowning, claustrophobia or anything. They’re things like, “what if they don’t really like me?” Uncertainties, man. Paranoia. Sadness. Loneliness. Such unprecedented things that just have no form, no definition, no limitation.
How could I be brave if I can’t overcome even these things? Then I read somewhere that I could be brave by doing what I want despite being afraid. That’s true bravery.
Then, I thought about the soldiers and all the other people who sacrificed their lives for others, they must’ve been afraid then. But they didn’t let that fear cripple them. They focused on something greater than their fear and that’s what became their power.

2. Hence, again, I was thinking about this “something greater” that I need to find in order to overcome my fear. I, then, realized it has to be me.

Photo by Amanda Charchian Art

Photo by Amanda Charchian Art

No other person it can be. I have to be brave for me. I owe myself that. Whenever I’m afraid of telling someone something, fearing that they’ll leave me and I’ll be alone, I realized that I’d rather be honest and alone than a liar and be surrounded by people who don’t know me and I didn’t want to live in this fear for my whole life.
3. There are also some ordinary situations in which anybody can be brave. You don’t have to go to war, or jump into fires or lakes.
You could stand up for people who are being discriminated on no logical grounds. Try standing up for them. It doesn’t mean you crush the person who is offending someone. That’s not bravery. Show your support with generosity and kindness.

 

You could tell someone to stop misbehaving with someone in public. Why are you afraid of that? I’ve seen many videos on Youtube where bystanders do nothing because they don’t want to get “involved” but the truth is, they’re too scared to take offense. Do you do that? Don’t. Please. Try to be brave. Stand up against unethical things.

-If you see bullying in your school, don’t turn your back.

And if you do, after it’s announced that the person who you turned your back on committed suicide, don’t you dare feel bad.

Nobody is too big or too small to make a change. Nobody. Even if you’re invisible, even if you’re popular, even if you’re a teacher, or a principal or anybody. Don’t underestimate the power of words and actions. It takes just a slip of rocks to cause a landslide. Push the damn rock, man.

– Most of us fear if we express the depth of our love for someone, it makes us look vulnerable.

Be brave, darling. Don’t worry. Even if they leave you after knowing how much you loved them, that’s their loss. Be proud of the kind of love you can give somebody. If you still love again and again and again after being broken and being abandoned, you’re the bravest person I know. Do you want to be a brave person? You can be. You just have to breathe and start again. Pick up that phone and tell somebody that you’re through with them, don’t be afraid of wanting peace. You are a pearl in a world of strings. Don’t forget that.

– There is bravery in being kind. How kind are you to yourself?
Forget about kindness being the same as forgiveness. It’s not. Be so kind that forgiveness falls on your feet begging for redemption. Kindness is not forgiving people for their faults, it’s accepting it as a part of something bigger down the road and showing the person the door to get out of your life. Being kind to yourself is being kind to your past. To your present. To your future. Don’t run away from your past. Look back at it and keep looking until your tears stop. It’s not your past, that’s your life. And you lived through it. Be brave enough to accept it. Accept the wrongs that were done. There’s bravery in acceptance. Accept it and MOVE ON.

Listen, here’s the thing. Reading about this will get us nowhere. Somebody has to say “ENOUGH!”, stop turning your heads in a crowd to see who will say, “YES!” first. Bravery is saying out-loud what you think no matter what anyone THINKS, SAYS or BELIEVES. You are as important as anyone and what you believe is equal to what your parents, teachers or friends believe. Have some dignity for yourself. Respect yourself enough to know how much you can matter to somebody, anybody. To yourself. Matter to yourself.

Be afraid if you have to, but, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Spread tolerance, man. Intolerance is growing in this world like a cancer. Spread tolerance. The world needs it. Be brave and spread tolerance. Be brave and save mankind, save our mother earth. We’re killing it. Be brave for others, be brave for yourself. Do things that scare you. Feel the adrenaline run through your body, you’ll know how it feels like to be really alive.

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Submitted to ArtParasites by Oshin Ahlawat