Find Your Brave and Keep It

I walk into a room comfortable in my own skin. My posture gets a little straighter; my smile a little brighter. I can look you in the eye and know who I am; shake your hand and tell you my story.

I am Ludavia. I stand tall.

I can hold 32 pounds in one arm, 15 in the other with a 10 pound bag slung across my shoulders, and 6 grocery bags balancing on my fingers… and still I am able to open a door. Strangers, I see you staring at me with your jaws hitting the floor. Thank you for the admiration, but I’d rather you offer a hand. I may be strong, but, “Hey, help a girl out.”.

I am Ludavia. I am strong.

When the moment calls, I can climb a mountain even if I feel defeated. I can endure great pain and find the positive within it. If obstacles present themselves, I battle them with sweat and tears, and I come out victorious feeling like I can conquer anything that comes my way.

I am Ludavia. I am brave.

How did I get to be so brave?

I went through some life-changing moments this year – all in a month’s time. I lost my mom to breast cancer in June and had my daughter in July. The sad moment was fighting what was suppose to my joyous moment. It was eating away at me making, me doubt myself.

I decided to dedicate myself to a 30-day blog series, “Find Your Brave.” A series that would separate me from everyone else – no comparisons. A series that would put my focus on who I am instead of what the world was telling me to be.

[Tweet “Being yourself honestly 100% of the time is the greatest gift you can give yourself. – @NiftyBetty”]

I was all in. 100%. This is what I learned:

1.) You need to have a living, breathing personal mission statement you live by daily. Do not ever stray from it. If something conflicts with it, you don’t do it. Period. It means it’s not for you and doesn’t go along with who you are.

2.) Being yourself honestly and unashamedly 100% of the time is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Embrace your flaws. They make you, YOU. The struggles you have been through have made you strong. They give you a story to share with others and inspire them to do the same. We need those “me too” moments to know we’re not alone. Never, ever go through something alone. Admit when you need help and ask for it (it doesn’t make you weak; it takes strength to admit). Surround yourself with the people you love, share your entire self and build each other up.

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3.) Remind yourself who you are. You are not defined by others. You are your own definition. It’s unique and cannot be duplicated. It can only be defined by you. So, stop comparing yourself to others. That’s silly. You’re awesome. Believe it. Participate in daily, positive self talk. Tell yourself you’re brave; and, you’ll believe it and own it. Tell yourself you are beautiful and you’ll wake up one day knowing you are.

4.) Learn from your mistakes. If you fall down, get back up, dust yourself off and try again. One of the biggest, most common fears is failure. But, there is no such thing. Change your outlook on failure. Failure isn’t failure. It’s learning how not to do something the next time. Choose to learn from what didn’t work. If you’re afraid, step out and do it anyway. You’ll learn something new about yourself. It’s a test of your abilities you may have never known you had, if you didn’t try.

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5.) Keep it real always. True story: I was rushing to get to the grocery store. I put on some capri pants and ran out the door. I got to the store, looked down and noticed my hairy, Chewbacca legs. I was getting anxious and started to have a battle with myself (Fight Club Style minus the punching) Do I go back home and change and risk the kids crying the entire time when I get back to the store or do I suck up my pride and walk in with the hairy, Chewbacca legs? The battle went on for 5 minutes. And for those 5 minutes, I thought the world was revolving around me. Who am I, right? I was so wrapped up in an insecurity, that really it was just a battle within. A battle of me fighting with my pre-mom self that had the luxury of shaving her legs. So, I sucked up my insecurity and walked in, hairy legs and all. Just keeping it real. I forgot to shave my legs. And I’m okay with it. Don’t hide those weird, awkward moments. It’s life. We all go through it. We all get insecure with ourselves one way or another. Share it with confidence. You’ll build deeper relationships that way.

6.) Be excited to find your brave. It’s important to be brave and to face everything that comes your way. It takes bravery to get out of bed sometimes to face reality. It takes bravery to get through your chaotic schedule or wonder how you are going to pay a bill next month. You need bravery to live life. So, get excited. Get so excited that you wake up with enthusiasm to find it everyday. I say everyday; because, we have those moments we feel like we can’t be brave. So, we have to find it again. It likes to hide in strange places; so, go on a scavenger hunt (like my son did for his R2D2). And when you find it, yell,  “Yay! I got it;” and give yourself a fist bump. It’ll change your world. And, it’ll be awesome. You’ll be able to walk into a room a little straighter, smile brighter, shake someone’s hand and tell them your story.