Don’t worry – when I advise you to be brave I’m not suggesting you should climb a mountain, try base jumping or take up free diving. But doing something you find a little bit frightening can have an amazing effect on your self-esteem.
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “Do one thing each day that scares you”. Of course she was First Lady of the USA, married to a very popular President, so that might have been easy for her to say. So I’m not suggesting you have to do a scary thing every day, every week, every month or even every year. Just now and again.
It doesn’t have to be a huge thing. Maybe you can just speak up in a meeting at work and make that suggestion you’ve been sitting on for weeks. Stand up for someone who you feel has been unfairly treated. Calmly and politely refuse to take abuse from someone who thinks they have the right to insult you.
Be sensible of course. Don’t risk losing your job or getting yourself beaten up by a knuckle-dragging thug. Unless you hate your job or like spending time in Accident and Emergency. But if you can do it safely, just face a bit of fear.
What happens when you’re a little bit brave, when you do something that scares you? You feel stronger, you feel more powerful, you feel like you’re a better person than you ever thought you were.
It doesn’t matter if things don’t go quite according to plan. If you stumble over your words or find yourself going red in that meeting, the likelihood is no-one else will care so why should you? If the bully doling out unfair treatment tells you to mind your own business you can still congratulate yourself for trying and remind yourself that you’re the better person. If someone carries on trying to insult you when you’ve made it clear you’re not taking it, don’t let it bother you. They’re wasting their breath.
So every now and again, do something that scares you, even if it’s only a little bit. Maybe you can make a note of it somewhere – what prompted you to do it, how you felt beforehand, how you felt while you were doing it. And most importantly, how proud you felt afterwards.
Be brave and see your self-esteem grow.