Brave is a word that is batted around a lot. It can mean so many different things to people. It is a heroic act, a daredevil stunt, standing up to speak in front of a crowd or even just getting dressed and leaving your house.
In the really stand out moments of each of our lives we have all had to be brave in one sense or another. I know that I have been forced to be brave on several occasions. And on each of these I was terrified! Brave isn't the absence of fear, but the ability to act in spite of it.
The biggest "brave" moments for me so far have been to do with my children. I think every mother can relate to the need to be brave from the moment they hand your new arrival to you. Tiny helpless and completely reliant on you to anticipate and meet all their needs. It is a type of fear that you do not know could exist until that moment. Brave in that moment is opening your arms and your heart and promising that you will do your best.
I had to be brave when at 21 I found myself a single mum to 2 very small boys. Terrified that I wouldn't be able to support them on my own, that I would make the wrong choice and damage their innocent futures beyond belief, or that I would simply fold under the pressure. Brave for me this time was to just keep trying my best, every single day.
I had to be really brave when my eldest son was knocked down, suffering a serious brain injury. Scared first that we would loose him, then the constant fear that his recovery would be limited,. The consequences of the accident on not only him but his brothers, myself and my partner, and everyone that loved my son created a constant fear that life would never be the same. Brave this time was to keep it together and believe, sometimes blindly, in his strength and mine.
I had to be brave when my little girl was born 8 weeks pre-mature. She was too small, too soon, to delicate. The fear that she just didn't have the best possible chance, that she was too tiny for this big tough world. Brave was being patient, with her and myself, giving her time where she needed it to grow and get strong.
These are the ones that really rocked me to my core, the ones that meant I had to dig deep to be brave enough. And I wonder if I only managed because I was motivated by love for my babies?
When it comes to being brave for me, I don't always manage. I sometimes talk myself down because I am really too busy, or it isn't that important, or simply because being brave just for myself is just too scary!
This last year I decided that needs to change! I have stuck to my guns and made some really brave/crazy moves. It is a truly fine line. I left a job I knew would pay the bills to pursue a career I love. I have put myself forward for things that I was definitely under experienced in, under taken some massive physical challenges and faced some deep rooted emotional baggage. I guess you could say brave is becoming a way of life.
However I am finding that it does not get easier or more comfortable. I suppose that if it did it wouldn't really be brave now would it?
So I have 2 more really "brave for me" acts in the pipeline for 2016. One is a skydive!! This is for charity and has been on my bucket list forever, so I am really excited and equally nauseas to be getting the chance. I cant promise that I wont bottle it up there, but I know that I will do my best.( And I get to do this with my eldest son, who made a really amazing recovery)
The second is the scariest move I have ever made for me and still I cant wait to tell the world!!!! The fear is immense, and knowing that I am acting in spite of it makes me laugh out loud most days. Sometimes brave might just be crazy in disguise........
So whatever type of "brave" your life is calling for right now, I say go for it! Don't worry about falling down, you might soar......and if not the only from the bottom is up !
Tell me about your brave moments xx
Jessica Keniston is a mother of 4, former dancer and lover of fitness who has turned her passion into a career. Read favourite tips, recipes and workout advice here, and sympathise with the daily motherhood struggles!