Bravery

September 6, 2015

…”I knew I’d be too chicken to fly out of the country.
So I blindly bought a plane ticket, knowing it would force me to go. And prayed that my passport visa would get cleared in time, or I’d lose my money.
And I was so nervous at the airport that…”

I was sharing a story with an acquaintance.
A sweet, older woman.
Picture a sensitive wise lady like the Oracle from The Matrix.

Oh, you’ve always been so brave, Deepak!
That’s one of the things I admire about you.

*stunned silence*

What?!
Me, brave?
Are you fucking kidding me?
No no no, the story is actually about how unbrave I was.

….

I’ve thought a lot about that conversation over the past few years.
Because I never think of myself as brave.

Hell, sometimes it’s hard for me to even leave my apartment, if I’m feeling paranoid and agoraphobic enough.

I’ve always thought of brave people as the types of who climb mountains, skydive, race sportscars, and fight in a cage in the UFC.

I’m nothing like them.

Today I had a realization.
Bravery cannot be compared with other people.
It depends on your personal scale and what you are capable of doing.

For example, during dark winters when my serotonin levels are at their lowest, and I don’t have my usual supplements and self-care routines, I will be barely able to get up out of bed. Getting up, showering, putting on clothes, walking outside of my apartment door, getting in my car, driving, talking to the person in the drive thru, and finally getting back into my apartment is nearly impossible.

Difficulty scale: 10 out of 10.

For a healthy person, that same routine is 1 out of 10.

Bravery is relative, is what I figured out.

Some people are natural public speakers. They crave the spotlight and attention. Some are naturally aggressive and love to fight. Others need the adrenaline rush of climbing mountains. So they seek out thrill-seeking activities out of necessity.

You need not compare your bravery with other people.
Because we don’t know if they’re doing things that are difficult for them or taking the easy path.

A shy girl raising her hand in class to ask a question can be braver than a guy getting in a cage because he loves to fight.