I went to Women of Letters last weekend. The speakers were invited to write a letter to their brave self. It was a gorgeous night where women were raw and courageous sharing stories of bravery or questioning the idea. I was left with a renewed love of letters. As a counsellor I often encourage people to write, to write to themselves, to someone they love, to someone they have loved who has died or to an imagined person. Some letters can be posted, some can be stored, some are best burnt or deleted. The destination is not important, the journey with the pen is what matters.
Writing is incredibly therapeutic and healing. It seems to have a magical power that allows you to offload or distance yourself from thoughts to regain clarity. It also provides a medium for a conversation with another even if the other is not present. Most beautifully it allows you to have a conversation with yourself to gain insight, to connect, to let go, to understand. It’s a lovely thing to reconnect with or begin if you have never tired it.
Well last weekend the letters also got me thinking about my brave self and this is what I realised. Bravery for me has not been the moments I arrived in a dramatic scene to act as a heroin. Bravery for me has been the times I have shown up, in my own life, as me. The times I went dressed as Cinderella to a ball, in rags not a ball gown and didn’t care about the judgements, the fact that others wore ball gowns or that I was in the company of mice.
Bravery for me has been the times I knew I had to believe in me and act from that place, even if I knew that wouldn’t be doing the “expected “thing. The times I went naked, vulnerable without my mask and let the world see me. To be honest I would rather hide by either being alone or stay with people who wouldn’t judge me, than risk judgement most of the time. It’s a big step to walk out in public with a view or opinion, a thought or dream and expose yourself to the public scrutiny. If I think about it, I really admire people who do step out and be their real self, their unmasked self and speak their truth. I call that brave.
I have learnt that for me to be brave, I need a full cup of self belief. I need to hold that cup with both hands when the judgements come and shake it up. Then above all else make the choice to never tip my self belief out. That doesn’t equal being right or the only way. It simply accepts that being human will include great moments of insight and crazy moments of misjudgement.
So the invitation is there for you, and I to stop today, take some time and write a letter: to yourself, your brave self and discover who you meet. Then to love all that you meet with a massive cup of self belief so you can love all of you, including the crazy ,cloudy, dark or confused bits, they’re the bits we are all bravest to meet.
Blessings and love Mary
For you all