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How to Become More Brave

Blessed are the brave, for they demonstrate ways to greet adversity.

Key points

  • Each person has the strength of bravery that they can tap into.
  • There are 3 main types of bravery you can use.
  • A bravery blessing is one practical strategy for building this strength.
DepositPhotos/VIA Institute
Source: DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

People who act bravely rarely think of themselves as brave. They see a difficult conversation and they speak. They see someone who needs help and they act. They see their inner turmoil and they face it.

Not everyone uses their bravery naturally. Not everyone greets adversity with ease. Research across the globe consistently shows bravery is not a common strength for people to endorse. Yet bravery is there and can be tapped into.

Here’s how Avery, 25, became braver in a short period of time. He recalls the story of his friend, Marta:

She was my friend, my good friend. I saw the hurt on her face. I had let her down again. That was clear. I could no longer deny it. She would ask me to help her with something and I always made an excuse—I was busy, had other plans, was too tired, or simply didn’t feel like it. I had to admit it to myself: I was a jerk of a friend. I wasn’t good at calling her back. I missed her father’s funeral. I skipped her brother’s graduation. I didn’t help her move from her apartment to her new home. And I never initiated a phone call or text unless I needed something.

When I spell it out like that, I am embarrassed.

So I looked more deeply at myself. I saw a mixture of laziness, people-pleasing, and a fear of letting people down. I saw my insecurity. It seems my modus operandi was: “Deal with it by never dealing with it.”

I decided enough was enough. Being a good friend was something that mattered to me. It brought me meaning.

I needed to be braver to move out of my comfort zone. But what would that look like?

I made a plan to initiate a call to Marta at least once a week. I’ve been doing that with her.

I reached out to 3 other people that I had lost touch with. I asked them to coffee and forced myself to stay open to whatever ideas they had for future get-togethers. No excuses. When I felt nervous or reluctant, I would say to myself, “use your bravery strength.”

I created a mindset that my bravery was a way for me to greet my difficulties, challenges, and stressors. That is how I began to see people and situations. I never knew what would happen but I might as well welcome the new possibility.

Before I knew it, I was helping a friend with his deck, assisting another friend make a difficult decision, joining a new social group, supporting a friend at an AA meeting, and visiting another at the hospital.

Reflect on Avery’s story. What are the ways he used bravery to tackle adversity? Perhaps you can detect the trifecta of bravery—physical bravery, psychological bravery, and moral bravery.

  • Avery used psychological bravery to face his personal insecurities and fears. He began to admit when he was wrong.
  • This led to Avery making more changes and exercising physical bravery, as he went into new situations that were challenging or threatening to him. Despite the adversity, he went anyway.
  • He opened himself further to moral bravery, which is the willingness to challenge oneself to do the right thing to benefit others.

Getting Practical: Use the Bravery Blessing

You can use the bravery beatitude, “Blessed are the brave: for they demonstrate ways to greet adversity” (Niemiec, 2021), to notice this inner strength in yourself, and to appreciate the bravery of others.

  1. Yourself: In what situation has this blessing/beatitude been a reality for you?
  2. Others: Identify someone in your life who you consider to be brave in many situations. Explain to them how you have benefitted from their bravery, how you aspire to imitate some of their positive brave actions, and the appreciation you have for them.

References

This article is part of an exclusive blog series on the 24 character strengths blessings/beatitudes. See the new, scientific article, called Character Strengths Beatitudes: A Secular Application of Ancient Wisdom to Appreciate Strengths for Spiritual Happiness and Spiritual Growth, published in the journal Religions.

Bravery is one of 24 universal character strengths found across countries, cultures, and beliefs, as uncovered by modern-day scientists.

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