I've been thinking about bravery and heroism lately. As I've struggled to crawl out of the hole I fell into, I've had to learn a few things about what bravery really means to me.
I've struggled a lot with the fear of abandonment. I've never had an explanation that makes sense in my mind because this is something I feared long before divorce.
Because of this, I'm often paranoid that the people in my life will leave me.
So for me, making friends is really brave. Even just meeting new people is really brave.
Being authentic and vulnerable is extremely brave.
But every day, I try. I go out into the world, most of the time with a big smile, and I try to make sure I'm making the world brighter. And when I can't make the world brighter, I at least try not to make it any darker.
Bravery is about trying. It is about getting up each day and deciding to do things that aren't always comfortable. It is breaking out of the square box we would normally live in.
Bravery is showing the world it can't break you. It is waking up with a smile when everyone expects you to fall apart. It is trusting your heart and believing in yourself.
So you have to learn to save yourself.
Be your own hero.
Believe in who you are.
This is one of my greatest parenting goals. Teaching bravery to children is an every day, every minute task. Most of the things my kids experience are new to them and often times, they look to me for reassurance. Each day, I try to emphasize the importance of putting our "brave pants" on and trying our best.
This ranges from trying new foods to attending school to giving a talk in primary and sometimes it even means dancing in front of hundreds of people.
My kids do brave things every day.
Princess struggles with this the most. She isn't as outgoing as Ninja and she often clings to my leg in new situations.
I remember the day she started kindergarten. I remember walking away as she cried and tried to run after me. I remember feeling like the worst mom in the world, even though I knew that brave moment would help shape her into the girl she is today.
That moment taught me a lot about my own life. Because more than once in my life I've watched people walk away and I've cried and wanted to run after them---but in my heart, I knew the best decision would be to stay put and put my faith in myself.
And the first few times, I was lost for a long time and couldn't find my way back. But the more I choose bravery, the stronger I become. The more I fight for myself, the happier I am. The more I trust myself, the healthier my self-confidence becomes.
I think God knew this. I think He needed to push me over the edge so I would find myself. I told Him over and over and OVER that He was giving me too much to handle but the thing is, He didn't. I found my way. In fact, I pushed further ahead than I've ever gone.
I've started reading my scriptures and praying and spending more quality time with my kids. I've started reciting positive affirmations in front of my mirror to remind myself every day that I DO HARD THINGS.
Whether I wanted to or not, God gave me this particular life because I am supposed to be this particular person. And as the Suzanne that I currently am, I can sit here and tell you that I am just as worthy as anyone else. I am worthy of life and love and happiness.
And happiness doesn't need to include a husband or more children or a million friends or a ton of money---happiness is an inside job. It is something I get to create within myself. It is something I get to share with the people around me.
I am extremely lucky to be Suzanne. Often times, I've wished to be someone else but this person that I am is pretty cool. The empathy and patience and optimism that God blessed me with is something I wouldn't trade for a million dollars.
I am not breakable because I am a daughter of God and I know He will always pull me through---whether that means dragging me by my toes or walking with a hand on my shoulder, He won't ever leave me.
I am brave. You are brave.
Life is brave.