What Brave People Know

Heroes, it's said, aren't fearless. After all, any idiot can do a courageous thing if he feels no fright. Real bravery lies in doing exactly what we fear: feeling that fear and doing it anyway.

In your lifetime, you will probably be called upon to do many brave things. Maybe not the kinds of things you could expect to be awarded medals for, but the kinds of things that most of us, sooner or later, will have to do: face illnesses and the deaths of people we care about, accompany family members to the hospital, deal with problems at work or with our children, undergo medical tests or treatments, bear injustices, grow old. Your particular challenges may be typical, atypical or both, but you will have them. And you will have to deal with them somehow. You might as well do so bravely.

Alert

You may continue to experience obsessive thoughts, even if you make significant progress against your compulsive behaviors. Your best bet is not to struggle to get rid of these thoughts but to allow them to come. When they see that you're not interested in fighting, they'll probably just go away.

Another Secret: Anyone Can Be Brave

You may tell yourself: I'm not brave enough to face my fears. But the truth is that anyone can be brave in a given situation. In fact, many, if not most, people who show amazing courage say they never would have expected that they could have done it — until the moment came. Go ahead. Give it a try. You might just surprise yourself with what, and how much, you can accomplish.

Fake It Till You Make It

Don't forget your primary weapons against fear: “acting as if,” and allowing yourself to anticipate the worst (in other words, to feel the fear). Even if going into the fear and deciding to take whatever comes doesn't work for you, “acting as if” you aren't afraid probably will.

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