Oh, you're so brave! - Creation.begins

Oh, you’re so brave!

crumpled happy face balloon lying in street
Embracing Unfairness
15 February 2024
Seagull squawking on a wooden pier
The Purpose In Complaining
29 February 2024
crumpled happy face balloon lying in street
Embracing Unfairness
15 February 2024
Seagull squawking on a wooden pier
The Purpose In Complaining
29 February 2024

Oh, you’re so brave!11 min read

In a society where judgment and fear are all too common, it can be challenging to stay true to ourselves and embrace our authentic truths. We’re often pressured to conform and fit in, even if it means abandoning what makes us unique. But wouldn’t it be awesome to break free from this fear and rediscover what it truly means to be brave and authentic?

I certainly have not been the bravest human in existence, hiding much of myself away for much of my life, fearful that I will at best be mocked and at worst be excommunicated. I didn’t fear death for being different but growing up seeing how much hatred and exclusivity exists in the world, death could also have been a valid fear had I been exposed to the possibility early enough. The point is I hid myself, a coward, a fearful weirdo. And yet, if I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve been told how “brave I am” or how much my “courage” has been inspiring, I have quite a few dollars.

The responses I was getting weirded me out. People were commenting on my bravery and courageousness for daring to be more me. What?! I mean I wasn’t doing anything special, I was just trying my darndest to find myself and my place in a very cold seeming, distant world. As I aged and cared less and less about the menial opinions of the more mundane members of our species, I found it easier to reveal more and more of my truths to my greater world. Also, the world was changing and I was finding safer places and communities to be more me.

Bravery is the willingness to face fear, uncertainty, or adversity with courage and determination. It’s not about being fearless, but rather about acknowledging your fears and choosing to act in spite of them. I didn’t think I was being brave. Only in a fucked up society as ours would we ever consider being our honest to goodness selves a brave and courageous move. I was simply taking the only logical paths I knew to find meaning in this life enough to stay alive in it.

Candle and scents in front of a sign that reads "Reminder: Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision".

photo by Cristi Ursea

The Societal Construct of Fear

Society often teaches us that bravery means overcoming physical challenges or facing external threats, but it tends to ignore the internal battles we face every day. The fear of judgment, the pressure to conform, and the struggle to be ourselves is just as daunting as any external obstacle, and very often more so. The world we’ve been raised in actively enforces this fear, through the structures that control us, such as politics, media, and religion. This societal construct of fear can warp our perspective of what it means to be brave. We start to believe that hiding our true selves and fitting in is the only way to survive. But in doing so, we abandon our authenticity and lose touch with who we truly are.

Societal constructed fear is a powerful force that shapes the way we think, feel, and behave. From a young age, we are taught to conform to societal norms and expectations, and those who dare to be different are often met with resistance or ostracism. We are scared into conforming, threatened with violence, ridicule, ostracism, incarceration, and death. We are scared into submission by systems that are too afraid of variety and difference when it comes to humanity.

This construct manifests in a society that values conformity over individuality, leading people to suppress their unique identities in order to fit in. We are reduced to a sea of sheep all trying their best to seem unique without being very different at all. The fear of being judged or rejected by others has been a powerful motivator to conform. The existing communities developed a strong sense of belonging for a lot of people, and dared to punish anyone who wasn’t similar enough.

We are kept in line in various ways. Society at large tends to reward success and punish failure, no matter how small, leading people to avoid taking risks or trying new things, maintaining a status quo that few break free of. As more people bought into the conformity story, that which was different and new and unknown was villainised, and more people bought into the fear, cementing the conformity. The unfamiliar which was once, and can still be, an exciting and intriguing and enlightening, became for most people something that was scary, and so people now stick with what they know, even if it’s bad for them or it’s not what they truly want.

Media and advertising, a product of and a perpetuator of this fearful society, promotes a narrow and unrealistic ideal of what’s considered “normal” or desirable, feeding on our insecurities and pushing the idea that we can satisfy our need for individuality by buying into the same things as everyone else. It’s important to recognize the societal construct of fear and how it has and continues to influence our behaviour and decision-making. By being aware of these fears, we can start to challenge and overcome them, embracing our unique individuality and pursuing our true passions and desires. It’s okay to be different and to stand out – in fact, that’s often where true innovation and progress come from.

Single yellow pepper on top of a bunch of red peppers

photo by David Rotimi

A Brave New World

We live in a dystopian society that values conformity, stability, and comfort above all else. People are encouraged to consume mindlessly in order to keep “the economy” going. However, it is becoming very painfully obvious to everyone now that no economy can be sustained in this way. We are seeing it all fall apart and finally questioning, en mass, whether we have been going about this whole thing the wrong way. Our society places a high value on consumerism, often at the expense of every other value, including love and life. Things made by human technology are valued more than the miracle of life that has existed through all of (or most of) time.

For as long as forms of mass communication have existed, we have been constantly distracted by entertainment and technology. More and more today, with our ever smarter devices and socialised media. People have been conditioned  since we established tribal leadership to accept the status quo and not question authority. While our society is certainly more open to critical thinking nowadays, there are still far too many instances where dissenting opinions are discouraged or suppressed.

That said, more of our people are breaking free of their mental shackles, pursuing our own choices and forging our own paths. While we still have a lot of old, outdated thinking controlling our society and corporations and political systems, they are slowly being made obsolete and the people who perpetuated those structures are steadily dying out.

The thing that keeps us human and is a core reason all the brainwashing will never take is that we are still pursuing and forging deeper, meaningful connections with each other. While a lot of our world and technology encourages superficial connections: Business is very impersonal, conversations remain very surface level. And yet, I am today, thanks to technology, finding so many more communities and building so many more meaningful relationships and having so many more deep and profound interactions than ever before.

We were bred into a world that valued conformity above all else, but in our ever evolving society as more people mature and wake up, and more new ones are born pre-evolved, diversity and individuality are increasingly celebrated and valued across our world.

A silhouette of three humans jumping off a cliff into the ocean

photo by Jo Leonhardt

cover image of my book, Authentic

The third book in the series

Embracing Authenticity and Bravery

We can speed the change along by adding to its momentum. It’s time to break free from this fear and embrace our authenticity. I am in the midst of writing another book in the Creation begins with you series, simply called Authentic that expands on this article and provides a more in depth approach to shirking off the shackles of conformity, and  fully tapping into and embracing our individual authentic selves.

Here are some of the ways we can do that now:

  • Recognize and challenge the societal pressures that push us to conform, and find ways to safely adjust our lives around them
  • Surround ourselves with supportive authentic people who inspire us to be ourselves
  • Practice self-compassion, and embrace and celebrate our unique qualities and perspectives
  • Speak our truth and stand up for what we believe in, even when it’s unpopular
  • Celebrate our ongoing progress and recognize that bravery is not a destination, but an ongoing habit that we will only get better at as the journey goes on

Embracing authenticity and courage in a society that values conformity can be challenging, but it is definitely a worthwhile pursuit. And in today’s world, there are a lot more of us being freer humans, and the support and community has grown significantly since when I was a kid.

Seek out similar minded people in order to find them. It will take a bit of time and effort in the beginning but eventually, like a rolling snowball, you won’t be able to stop the momentum and, if my life is anything to go by, eventually, virtually everyone you meet will be one of your people, a fellow non-conformist just being their unique self.

While you are still finding your people, spend time reflecting on your values, beliefs, and passions. Get to know who you are: What’s important to you? What makes you unique? A lot of us were never given the opportunity nor the impetus to figure out who we are at our core. Many of us are an intricate collection of outside opinions plastered over our real selves for so long that even we believe the lies. Understanding yourself, discovering who you really are underneath the layers of protection and costumes, is the first step toward authenticity.

Authenticity requires vulnerability. You need to take a long, hard look at yourself and not all of it is going to be comfortable. But the more comfortable you get at sitting with your discomfort, the easier it gets to shed the lies and be yourself over time. Have open and honest discussions with yourself. Share your thoughts and feelings honestly with the people you trust. It’s okay to be imperfect and make mistakes. Allow yourself that freedom. It is the gateway to more freedom.

Scrabble letters reading "courage does not always roar"

photo by Brett Jordan

As you explore more of your freedom, you will discover that every single human on this planet has a unique perspective of life. Some are more diverse than others, but if you spend enough quality time with anyone, you will learn that they may have quite diverse perspectives from yourself. The more you surround yourself with people who challenge your thinking and expose you to new ideas, the more you grow and heal, and break you further out of the mindset of conformity.

People consider me courageous because I’m too dumb to not take risks. Courage is all about stepping outside your comfort zone and taking chances. Whether it’s trying a new hobby or speaking up at work or travelling on your own or changing careers for the seventh time, taking risks can help you grow and develop confidence. Ultimately, what we consider bravery is a personal quality that can be cultivated and strengthened over time. By regularly facing our fears, challenging ourselves, and standing up for what we believe in, we become more brave and more resilient in the face of the inevitable challenges. After you’ve fallen on your face for the seventeen millionth time, you finally get it that it doesn’t matter how many times you make a mistake or even fail dismally, you’re going to pick yourself up and go at it again, or try something different. You realise that risks are only risky to those people who don’t take risks.

But falling on your face takes its toll, too. Be sure to be kind to yourself, as well, when you face setbacks or encounter resistance. Practice self-compassion and self-care continuously so that you aren’t mowed over by the society that will keep working against you until you’re rich enough or famous enough to be free of that low energy field of influence.

Bravery is not just about facing external challenges, but also about overcoming internal fears and pressures. By embracing our authenticity and challenging the societal construct of fear, we can rediscover what it truly means to be brave and live a more fulfilling and authentic life. Remember that authenticity and courage does take practice, and it’s okay to take things at your own pace. In due course, you and all of us will break free from the fear of discrimination and ostracization, we will embrace our uniqueness, and be the brave individuals we were always meant to be.

Be inspired to be yourself

The world is a playground, laden with opportunities to experience pretty much whatever we want to experience.

Fill in your details to join the mailing list.

  • You'll get the full chapter "Shining Your Light" from Creation begins with you, as well as a pdf version of my first book Being Dusty.
  • You'll get irregular updates on what's happening in my worlds of entertainment, writing, and adventuring.
  • You'll get first access to promotions, specials and upcoming events
  • You'll be entertained by my latest creations (articles, short stories, media, and anything else I wanna showcase)
Interests

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Oh, you’re so brave!
We use cookies on this website to improve your experience. Information is safeguarded by our Data Protection Policy.
learn more