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What Women Want - March 2019

28 Feb 2019

We are all being too brave

My body is fatigued, my eyes feel heavy and the burden of bravery is taking its toll on all aspects of my life.

It becomes difficult to keep fronting up, to keep smiling – to keep bravely moving forward.

I think we are all being too brave. We hold our bravado like a shield, we use it to protect ourselves, we engage it to hide the ever-widening cracks. We keep ourselves too shiny and we pretend we are bullet proof. We bravely show that we are ok, that we are positive, that we have “got this”. This bravery is a mask, and whilst admirable in so many ways, it is bloody hard to keep doing.

Traditionally when we think of bravery, it is about being scared of something, but doing it anyway. Like heading off to war, we envisage an impending battle to brace oneself for, a stiff upper lip and a steely eye as we proudly – with heart in mouth – march off to protect those we love from enemy attack.

Or bravely fronting up to something we fear, whether it’s the dentist or a plane, knowing we must commit to the path we fear if we want to get to where we need to be – a painful tooth being fixed, a flight to a long-awaited destination the reward.

But I think the link between fear and bravery is now different, I think that we are actually just too afraid to show how we are really feeling, how vulnerable we sometimes become, how much something is hurting – that we put the mask of bravery on and pretend we are all good because that’s easier than exposing our true feelings.

I know that when I’m unsure of someone’s actions – a lover’s for example – I can feel very vulnerable and confused by how they are hurting me and instead of simply asking what their intentions are, I put a bullet proof barrier up, smile brightly and force myself to act like everything is completely fine – because, bravely, I tell myself it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what they do because I won’t let anyone hurt me again. And I don’t want to be vulnerable, it terrifies me to let my guard down, to let someone see they are able to hurt me. So I pretend it doesn’t matter. I bravely keep walking.

It’s like my darling friend, bravely facing the biggest battle against cancer. She is so brave. So f’ing brave. But she must cry at night, she must be terrified, because there is nothing else that cancer is except terrifying.

She is my best friend, and we bravely smile and say “we’ve got this”. I tell her I love her, but we are still too scared to let the cracks show because it’s just too terrifying. And so we smile our shiny smiles while the unshed tears sting at our eyes and we bravely keep walking.

Bravery is to be admired. It is a true symbol of strength. It is not to be underestimated. But I think we should all, collectively, look to change our relationship between bravery and fear.

I feel (and fear) that our bravery is stopping us from sharing our true feelings, our pain, our fears … and maybe, just maybe, we would all be a little richer for sharing our vulnerabilities just a little more.

Maybe we would realise how loved we are, if we just let people in. Maybe we would realise that many of our fears, have no place in our lives.

So let’s continue to bravely keep walking – towards our truth, towards sharing, towards overcoming fear. Let’s bravely speak of our fears, rather than hide our fears behind our bravery.

I wish you much love this month, strength and peace.

Abby x

Thank you for your emails, and please know you can reach me at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or join me on FB & insta @abbyjanecrawford

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