You Are So Brave (words we need to hear)

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She paused, looked me in the eyes and said, “You are so brave.” Instantly I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I didn’t know I needed to hear those words, but they cut straight to my heart and into my fear.

The act of creating something of worth and meaning is terrifying. What if it doesn’t work? What if I put myself out there and no one care? What if I can’t make it as good as it is in my imagination? What if, what if, what if. How quickly our fears can drive us to question whether the risk of creating and letting our desire be known is worth it.

Fear has a way of short-circuiting hope.

At least it does for me.

Stacia and I are both pursuing things that deeply meaningful us — Stacia in her music, and me in this blog and one-on-one work. Day to day it can be a struggle as we start out. Some days it feels like things are working and going well for us, while on others we have to remind ourselves why we are on this journey. The temptation is to quit and do something else. It’s hard to remember why it matters in those moments.

On a particularly discouraging afternoon after traveling for a few weeks, I ran into my friend Meghan at her work. We spent a few moments catching up. She asked how our endeavors were going. I told her plainly and honestly how they were going and how I was doing. Really, things were going ok on the outside, yet inside I was feeling the difficulty of pressing on when it doesn’t feel like things are moving. I told her, “It’s just so hard to keep going when it would feel so much easier to quit and get a “real job”. Every day I think about it, and every day I have to remind myself why I’m doing this. I have to remind myself that this matters and that what I am doing is going to help others and work out.”

She paused, looked me in the eyes and said, “You are so brave.”

As the tears welled up, she said, “You don’t have a boss to tell you that.” I shook my head, and said “No, I don’t. But I really need someone to tell me that. Thank you.”

With those four simple words, my hope grew and fear dissipated. The short circuit had been mended, at least for a moment. All she did was see me and acknowledge what she saw, and yet it changed me. It was the highlight of my week.

Sometimes all we need is someone to hear us, see us, and affirm the good that they see.

Though I don’t know all of your stories, I know some of them. And I want to tell you that you are braver than you think you are. You have the strength to endure. You have the strength to persist. Don’t give up. Never give up.

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

There Are 9 Comments On This Post.

  1. So good. Thanks for sharing your struggles and your process.

    And yes, you ARE brave.

  2. Bonnie

    Wow. Incredible timing. I needed to hear those words today.

    • I’m so grateful to be the messenger for those words to you, Bonnie! You’re braver than you think you are.

  3. Jennifer

    Yes, you are brave, Dan! I have been a follower of your blog for just a few months but am constantly inspired by your posts. As someone with a “real job” wanting to move in the direction you have gone, I am reminded that the grass always seems greener on the other side 🙂 But you are where you’re supposed to be. And you’re great at it!

    • Thanks so much Jennifer! I’m so grateful to have you reading along and grateful for your encouragement. I can’t wait to hear you journey progress!

  4. PS: This might have been what I was reading before I decided I needed to talk to you 🙂

  5. Debbie

    Yes Dan what you do matters. You are brave. People like you on my Facebook page remind me that you can lead a different life if you choose it. You are a beacon of possibility and hope. Don’t give up. I hope one day I have the courage to quit my ‘real
    Job’. Thanks for being honest about the struggles too. Thanks for sticking at it.

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