tldr; courage is asking for what you need. bravery is sometimes saying no. tune in, listen up, lean in.
i just devoured 'the gifts of imperfection' by brené brown (an excellent read or listen especially for all my fellow type a's and self labeled 'perfectionists') in one day and i want to talk about it.
the entire book was fantastic but what really stuck out for me was what she wrote about courage. she says courage has often been equated with heroism; usually something like saving someone's life by risking your own. but she argues that courage is actually defined by asking for what you need. this idea brought me right back to the wonderful bible that is 'untamed' by glennon doyle when she talks about bravery. glennon writes about how bravery is often (mistakenly) defined as being scared, but doing it anyway. instead, she says bravery is tuning into your 'knowing' and listening; like, really listening. here, you'll find that sometimes not doing it (scared or otherwise) is the brave choice. (#powerofno)
these definitions of bravery and courage are both rooted in the ability to have a really honest relationship with yourself that is not influenced by other's expectations or judgements. i like to think of them as a little power couple: if you can have the courage to ask for what you need and the bravery to make the choice that best serves you, you will be your most authentic self.
mini pause: it is really, really easy for me to write that pretty little sum up of a ginormous, complicated idea...believe me, i know this is tough stuff.
resume: reading the work of brené and glennon was such a refreshing and enlightening course corrector in an unbelievably challenging year. 2020, while riddled with unknowns, fear and anxiety, has also been a year of unprecedented self growth for a lot of us. at the risk of sounding a little too 'glass half full-y' or 'let's make everything positive-y' (which ya'll know is not usually my jam...feel all the feelings all the time), i'm going for it anyway because #courage and #bravery: we were given the gift of time. one of the most precious and coveted currencies we will ever have to spend. this year we had much more time at home. time alone. time to think. time to organize. time to reflect. time to feel. time to change. time to get real. time to lean in.
while i've done a lot of saying no, boundary setting, and generally just hanging out with myself this year...i'm not actually here today to talk about my experience with bravery or courage. nope. i've seen this work being done by my cherished #fitfam (come on, you knew it was coming #groupfitnessforlife) and i'm going to shout it from the rooftops because #saysomethinggood; I SEE YOU AND I'M SO PROUD OF YOU.
check this out. over the last couple months i have received an overwhelming number of messages like the following: "i left class a bit early because my body wasn't feeling it." or "i signed up for your hiit class but i really actually need yoga today - i will see you next time."or "my goal was to make it half way through and i did that but now i need to jet out to recover." or "i'm so unbelievably sore. i am going to stretch and rest instead today"...i mean, come on, right? i literally want to send them a video of myself, hands in the air, singing a high pitched, 'ahhhhh!!!' as a response every. damn. time.
mini pause #2: ok, you might think, 'but hilary...um, don't you want everyone to come to class? that is how the business makes money, right?' fair question. of course i want all the people to come hang and get their sweat on...but NEVER at the expense of dishonoring what you truly need. choosing no. asking for what you need. this is courage. this is bravery. this is self care. this is 'knowing'. and this is also really. fucking. hard.
resume #2: a good number of the messages i receive from my #fitfam loves also include apologies...that's the pre-programming talking, though. you know, that voice inside telling you that you should just 'fight through it'. or my personal favorite, 'the only workout you regret is the one you didn't do'... and oh man, do i feel you on this. but the more we listen and choose for ourselves, the more we know with complete certainty that there is never a reason to apologize for choosing what we need. if we ignore our body's messages and warning signs - what comes as a result of not listening? the 'messages will get louder and louder and well, let's just say it is a whole lot more enjoyable, physically and mentally, to comply the first time ;)
while i do not require or expect anyone to feel like they need to tell me why they aren't coming to my class or explain why they left early (irish goodbyes are often the only good goodbyes #amiright), know that if you do fill me in or if you're looking for support in your brave and courageous decision to listen to your 'knowing', you will always 100% get a resounding 'heck yes - good for you' from me. tune in, listen up, lean in. i'm proud of you.