Bravery – Is It All That?
By Shawn McAndrew
When I was preparing for the Hoffman Process, it was not an easy task. I had to look at a lot of things that caused me pain over my lifetime. Humans tend to avoid stirring up yucky stuff. We don’t like to look down those deep, dark holes that hold the scary and scarring bits of life.
Find the Courage
Yet, we summon the courage to look, to explore, to uncover those prickly bits that keep nagging at us and making life uncomfortable and painful. Why? Because we have to. We might get to a place where we’ve had enough of the negative side of life. We are tired of holding ourselves back from joy and happiness and love. When we get to this place, we find the courage – the bravery – somewhere deep in our souls to make a change.
When I told a few people that I was going on this journey called the Process, they told me I was brave to do so. I didn’t think so. I was at a place where it was do or die, or at least do or continue suffering. Bravery is for people who sit in trenches in the middle of nowhere, being shot at by unseen enemies. Metaphorically it could be said that’s some of what my childhood involved. But literally, I did not sit in a trench and take enemy fire.
Some could argue that encountering emotional or physical enemy (or friendly) fire has the same effect – trauma. We all react differently, but it is still there. So, to dig it up, to air it out in the light of day, does take a certain amount of bravery.
Honor Your Bravery
I learned to honor my bravery, to accept that getting to this stage in life takes resilience, drive, fortitude, and, yes, bravery. I’ve spoken to people who have been called heroes as a result of the work they’ve done during this pandemic. They echo what I heard from my dad’s generation of World War II vets – “I’m not a hero. I’m just doing my job!” That may be true, and the fact that they get up each day and do their job is an act of bravery, maybe even heroism.
Let’s own our courage. We have all trudged through the trenches and come out on the other side. That’s something to be honored. It is something to be recognized and owned, if for nothing more than the next time we encounter enemy or friendly fire, we know we can keep going.