It’s Not Brave, It’s True
Posted on: December 15, 2017
I was just thinking about how often I’ve been told how brave I am for speaking up and expressing myself, across many different situations. I assume that those who have said this to me must perceive it as dangerous or scary because they use the word brave.
Here’s an example:
I had just started seeing someone and I mentioned to a friend that I sent a text, telling him I was thinking about him, to which she told me how brave it was. And, I had no idea why she thought it was brave. It was just one sentence. I told him I was thinking about him because I was thinking about him. I told him because it was true.
To be fair, there was a period when this would have felt horrifying. And, at the time, I had no idea how horrible it felt to keep so much inside, with no outlet. I didn’t know the importance of self-expression. I didn’t know I needed the sense of relief that comes with that outlet. I was just terrified of what might come back at me, as if expressing my thoughts and feelings was a crime. But, the reason this example seemed so foreign to me was that I had, thankfully, released that fear quite some time before.
I suppose the dangerous/scary part was the idea of expressing my feelings, and the brave part was having the courage to actually express them.
But, the only way I saw it was that I was sharing the truth, in the moment. He happened to have texted back, reciprocating the sentiment but, that was just an unexpected, pleasant outcome. I suppose that, had I done it to illicit an outcome, and didn’t get it, I would have been upset. But, if I had had a desired outcome, it would have been dishonest. It would have been a manipulation. Manipulation is never a good idea. It feels icky and it’s a lie.
Or course, there are still times when insecurity and vulnerability cause feelings of extreme discomfort while expressing myself or, at worst, completely override my ability to do it. And, instead I feel fearful, which sucks. Fear keeps my feelings inside. Fear is responsible for negative projections I put onto others, and the lies I tell myself about myself.
Expressing my thoughts and feelings is exhilarating and gives me a sense of freedom. It’s much more pleasant than fear. So, for me it’s not brave at all, it’s just true.