You Can Be Anxious AND Have Courage!
Courage. Where do we find it? How do we get it? And, once we get it, how do we keep it?
In this era, being courageous or brave comes with great expectations. Men are expected to show their “brave face” ALL the time, or they run the risk of being called a “sissy.” That is a lot of pressure! Women (and many times men too) are expected to multi-task multiple difficult things at once, but also must look pretty and be smiling while doing it.
But, to top it all off, we humans (men, women and children) with anxiety are often expected to meet all of the above criteria AND keep our anxiety to ourselves. Where did we get this from?! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard stories about family members or partners or parents who have told someone struggling with anxiety or depression (or another mental health struggle) to “be braver” or “toughen up” or “you gotta be stronger through this.” While I do understand what they are trying to convey, today’s podcast episode is all about approaching courage and bravery with a new (more reasonable) perspective.
You see, I like to think of bravery and courage as something you can experience WITH anxiety. I actually think they go beautifully together. We can feel dreadful fear AND be courageous. We can feel overwhelming sadness AND be strong. What we have been told about bravery and courage is all off. It limits us and makes us feel like we must not try things until we have no fear and we can “hold it together.”
I like to believe that the person who decided to go to the party, despite their tremendous social anxiety, is the brave one. I believe that the person who does that really hard thing (even if it happens to be easy for other people) is the courageous one. I believe the one who has a tear running down their face as they face their fear is a brave rock star!
I hope you enjoy this podcast episode and begin to challenge your view of what bravery and courage looks like. As always, thank you for supporting me with this podcast and with CBT School's online courses.