Is there a difference between being fearless and being brave? The answer lies in the fundamental principle of expansion and contraction. This is the opening line of chapter one in my book, Brave Ecstatic Woman. And, chances are throughout your journey of self discovery, this is a question you have asked yourself.
Perhaps not in those exact words however, along these lines I am certain.
Why? Because everyone experiences fear in some way — we’re human.
What is Brave Anyways?
When we consider the energy waves that make up all things in the universe, including ourselves, fear is among them. However, how we are taught and in turn learn to manage fear varies.
The archetype of the warrior for example – standing strong in their power – is the vision of the healthy solar plexus chakra. It is not aggressive, but it will not diminish itself either.
To dance the solar plexus chakra is to call on the ancient dances of the warrior. In Chakradance, fast, dynamic and vigorous movements of the arms and legs, activate our core and ignite the fire in our belly, fuelling our dance with energy and strength.
Reining all this fiery energy in, movements then become strong, purposeful and clearly defined as our inner warrior emerges triumphant, brave and strong.
You see, being brave does not mean we do not feel fear. In fact, quite the opposite.
It means that you are able to take control of that fear forbidding its power over you. Being brave means that you are aware of and allow yourself to be vulnerable, become aware of imperfections and face your fear. Similarly in my M’s Musing piece about the Law of Attraction and Omitting the Negative, we found that facing and coping negative energy in this case fear, can too be effective.
If not, more so.
Being Brave vs. Being Fearless
We often hear people talking about being brave and being fearless as if the two words are interchangeable. However, I have to say that I respectfully, disagree. Being brave is not being fearless. It is OK to be afraid. I mean, stuff scares me all the time — But I do them anyways. And that, beautiful souls is being brave.
While I go into detail in my book, when we live in a constant state of fear we then live in a constant place of needing to feel safe. As a result, we are focused on controlling our surroundings. At face value, this may sound great however, this opens us up to feelings of paranoia, instability, victimization and so on.
Whereas, when we live in a place of bravery we are vulnerable to the excitement that lies before us, but conscious enough to manage and/or cope for uncertainties that may arise.
Be afraid, be real with yourself, but be brave.
Happiness is not the absence of problems; it’s the ability to deal with them — Steve Maraboli
Is the Jury out on Fearlessness?
Arianna Huffington wrote a brilliant piece in her book called ‘On Becoming Fearless in Work, Love and Life’. She explains that being fearless is about getting back up again, regardless of what knocked us down. She believes that being fearless does not mean there is an absence of fear but instead the mastery of it.
What’s interesting about this piece is that, is this not the same definition of the word brave?
Could this be a clear example of how these words are used so interchangeably?
‘Fearlessness is like a muscle,’ Arianna says. ‘I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me. The first time we take that first fearless step, we begin to change our lives. And the more we act on our dreams and our desires, the more fearless we become and the easier it is the next time.’
As Arianna states (and others who share this thought), she has found, being fearless doesn’t mean living a life that’s completely without fear, but living a life in which we don’t let our fears stop us from pursing our dreams.
What is your thoughts on the word Fearless?
Are Fear and Brave words you use interchangeably?
Overall, I challenge you to consider forgoing the belief around fearlessness and exchange it with fierceness. You see, the word fearless in and of itself suggests fear-less. Less, not more.
Where, we agree even with differences of opinion that it is OK to welcome fear. Some of our biggest endeavours required them to breakthrough. We could date this back as early as your first day of school. Sure, you were excited but there was a ton of fear hidden in that excitement.
One might agree that even into post secondary, or your first job — maybe your leap as an entrepreneur or simply diving into unknown waters. These are instances of bravery. These are instances where you felt the fear but you did them anyway.