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  • Writer's pictureLJW

"The Power of Micro Bravery: How Small Acts Make a Big Impact"

For most of my life, I was the person who stood in the background. I was the backdrop to my successful husband, my extended family, even those in my circle of friends. As the fifth child in a family of six kids, I just wanted to fit in. I hadn’t lost touch with me, I never knew me. I played the music my peer group liked, I dressed how women did in my church, and I basically made sure that I did what others would approve of. I had become what everyone else wanted of me. I was such a people pleaser that at one point I wondered, “who am I?”

Other Esteem vs. Self Esteem

Who are you, really? Are you a product of others’ opinions or are you uniquely you? Do you let others see who you are? Psychologists call what I based my life on, “other esteem.” A fragile way to think about yourself, and solely based on other's opinions.

It took small acts of micro bravery to learn who I was. I started this journey after a painful divorce. Suddenly I had to make decisions that would affect the future course of my entire life. Until this time, I deferred to my husband. I even remember saying one time, “I can’t make a decision right now, would you make it for me?” When I look back at the woman I was then, I call that woman a wimp! It took being forced into many acts of micro bravery and courage to build self esteem and trust I could make a good choice. I learned that my choices were about me, not about what others thought of me.

How to Start

If you relate to this, here’s how to begin to be you. Start small. This could be speaking up when someone states something you don’t believe. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. You just say, “I respect that you believe that way and I am not interested in a long discussion about it, but I believe …” Speak up! Find your voice in small micro ways. Practice this before you meet up with someone you know is very opinionated. Then take a micro step and express yourself in those moments. Small acts of courage and bravery like this helped me grow into a strong person.

What kind of music do you like? What would you wear even when knowing others wouldn’t wear it? What could you say if the waiter brings food that’s not what you ordered? What would you add to your own list of brave baby steps? Go ahead, do something today you couldn't do yesterday and take a micro step toward courage.

Practicing Small Steps Adds Up

Finally, remember being brave takes practice. Think of it like a muscle you need to strengthen. When lifting weights at the gym, strong muscles don't happen overnight. Strength takes consistent effort. If you are brave in the small moments, you'll find yourself brave when it really counts.

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