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Be Brave

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What Bravery Means to Me

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On my birthday last year, I decided to make a better effort to be brave. At the time, I had lofty, adventurous goals in mind like, "tackling my fear of the ocean!" or "finally writing that book!", but I'm realizing that brave choices can also be small choices. Seemingly insignificant in the moment, brave acts happen every day. I've not only experienced tiny moments of unexpected bravery for myself, but I've also witnessed it in others and that, dear readers, has been incredible.

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To me, bravery is...

...finally pressing 'send' on scary emails and making tough phone calls.

...sharing your story on the off chance someone may connect with what you have to say.

...graciously tolerating the opinions of others, even when you don't agree.

...speaking up when that opinion is infringing on your boundaries.

...standing by those you love even though they may not always stand by you. 

...making small steps in the direction of your dreams.

...actually showing up.

...learning new things.

...calling upon muscle memory to delve back into things you once knew.

...asking for what you believe you deserve.

...doing what you say you'll do.

...admitting when your wrong.

...being wrong a lot and learning from your mistakes.

...saying yes to things that terrify you.

...saying no to things that don't interest you.

And last, but not least: 

Bravery is... continually learning how to accept yourself at your best and your worst while offering others the same courtesy.

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That last one is something I struggle with every single day. I know I can't be the only one who feels that way, right? So many of the small and quiet acts of bravery are actually the toughest to work through and I feel as though my list only scratches the surface. 

So tell me, friends: How are you brave in day to day life? What does bravery mean to you?


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On Turning 31

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There's something interesting about turning another year older, isn't there?

Yesterday I turned 31. The day was full of all of the wonderfully normal things like feeding the dog, taking a walk, working on freelance projects and catching up on email.

Yet it was also full of fabulous little moments: making our bed that now features the most stunning quilt from my step-mom, fielding sweet phone calls from friends and family, hearing my nephew sing the cutest rendition of happy birthday on my voicemail, savoring a bowl of the borscht made in a pre-birthday cooking session with my mom over the weekend, walking to the mailbox to find loads of handwritten cards and chatting with my husband over wine and delicious food at our favorite Italian restaurant. Those little moments made the day and I'm so grateful for all of it.

Amidst all of that loveliness, I took a moment to reflect. I have definitely been thinking about a simple mantra I could call my own as I step into my 31st year on this earth and I've landed on this: 

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It's obviously not original. In fact, there's a really fantastic song out right now that inspired my thought process. I've been pretty brave in the past and I'm so humbled by those around me doing brave things like building incredible businesses, moving across the country (and the world!) to pursue dreams and career opportunities, participating wholeheartedly in the community, standing up for beliefs and dealing with painful, difficult events.

Like everyone else, I'm often afraid in life. I'm scared to fail, speak up, hurt someone's feelings, fall down, get hurt... die. You know? The big stuff. Fear is a completely normal human emotion, but I want to continue working to be brave in the face of all the scary stuff. I don't want fear to drive my big or small decisions in life.

So there it is. I want to be brave.

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Who's with me? 


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