My intention for today is “I am brave.” There is just so much going on in the world and inside of myself this year. I really want to find strength and courage from within to keep me grounded. Over half-way through the day and I still am not really feeling much weight behind this intention that I’ve been reciting.
I noticed a while ago that my inner voice often repeats “I’m scared. I’m scared. I am scared.” I don’t know when this began to be an unconscious mantra of mine. However, I’m sure it has been just as harmful as an intentional mantra can be helpful.
There seems to be a fine line separating simply shifting your focus and denying yourself all together. There is an entirely different feeling between the two. Yet for me it can be hard to find the right one sometimes. Instead of reassuring myself that I am strong and capable and brave, I often find myself just refusing to acknowledge my emotional state entirely. Pushing away, resisting, denying what I’m experiencing. It is difficult to allow feelings of fear and anxiety while simultaneously encouraging and bolstering more positive feelings to emerge.
I have to keep reminding myself that saying “I am brave” is not a lie. It is not a denial of the fears I still have. It is an affirmation of the courage that resides within me despite those fears. It is the whisper of a kind friend saying “I know you are scared, but we can get through it together. Give me your hand.” I have to remember that it isn’t an attempt to shut out the truth of my emotion. I am not ignoring the precious, though uncomfortable, signals my body is sending me. Rather, I am saying to my anxious heart “Yes, dear. I hear you. Come into my arms. Let me show you this feeling is not all that remains inside of us. You are brave despite your fear. You are strong even in moments of weakness. Don’t forget the stillness that rests in the ocean’s depths even as the surface shakes.”
Fear and bravery are not mutually exclusive. I am scared. But I am also brave in the face of fear. I am weary. But I am also filled with fire yet. I am anxious and agitated. But I am also full of love and gratitude.
For too much of my life, I severely underestimated the power of what we say to ourselves. It is not enough to try to avoid harmful self-talk. We need to actively speak kindly to ourselves each day. And even though it may seem like it’s the same, writing these things down or speaking them aloud to yourself is immensely more powerful than simply thinking it. Speaking gentle words of encouragement, intentions, and self-affirmations into a mirror is even better. You might feel silly at first (I still do), but just these small acts make all the difference. Writing or preferably, speaking engages so much more of your brain. It helps us put more focus and energy behind the words. It helps to strengthen these new mental connections we are building.
So even though I am feeling fearful of the future, even though I’ve been feeling out of control, even though I want to run, to escape, I will remain. Because I am brave. I can do this.