You might have heard that fortune favors the brave. It’s true. I have ample examples to share, as I have seen it work over and over again.
But sometimes, you just feel stuck. Maybe you even want to run away.
I have felt like running away far more often than I wanted to hang around and face a situation that’s less than ideal. Over time, I have learned to stay — but with one foot out the door. Usually, being an introvert makes me want to withdraw and vanish.
Conversely, I've noticed that extroverts don’t run when facing challenges. Instead, they want their pain to go away. They may ignore it.
So, whether you want to run away from what threatens you or you want what feels like a danger, you're not alone.
Whenever you feel uncomfortable, it's either because it’s something new or you feel unsure. Or, you have a history and your primitive mind takes over and you retreat to a flight or freeze mindset.
There is a way to find peace, whether you're an introvert or an extrovert. And chances are, you already possess the tools you need.
When you feel stuck and see no way out, it helps to learn how to take a chance on life.
Feeling Stuck? Have Faith In Yourself
Your primitive mind’s only purpose is to help you survive. Extroverts usually put up a fight and introverts opt for flight.
When danger seems larger than life, whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, your primitive mind takes over and gets you into a "freeze" state, also called denial.
But this doesn't just happen out in the wild or in emergencies. It also happens in daily life.
Maybe these examples sound familiar to you. When you don’t want to answer the doorbell or the phone, don’t want to open the mail, or do your dishes, or your bed, it’s called the "freeze" state.
When someone asks you, "How’s it going?" and you either say, "Same old same old," "Can’t complain," or "Great" and move on, that’s an indicator that you feel stuck in life.
Seek the courage within yourself to be brave
Yes, you do need help and maybe support, guidance and accountability, but it all begins with you, one single thought. And, it could be as simple as, "I am more than what I know myself to me."
You are more than your fears. Fear that you can’t fight makes you freeze. Maybe feeling brave isn’t your thing, so let’s begin with something else. How about courage?
I call courage "faith in action." You don’t have to be religious to have faith in yourself.
Faith, to me, is self-trust.
Think of the giant oak, stuck in an acorn. It lies dormant under the frozen earth and one day, it breaks free from the casings, and a sapling is born.
It weathers the elements and slowly over time grows into its true self. And, it’s possible because of only one reason: it's aware of its true nature.
So, let me ask you: What is your true nature? Are you aware of your true self? Are you meant to fight and expend your energy until the end, without knowing who you are, without knowing peace, happiness, stability?
When you run away, like the old version of me, peace, stability, or happiness can’t be yours.
I used to run from one situation to another looking for peace until I realized peace is my true nature and has been within me all along.
When you feel frozen with fear, look at it, deep into its eyes, and your fear will dissolve. Your fear is your projection. Start by looking into the reflection of your eyes each morning and every night before bed.
Say, "You are brave" and "I love you." Mirror gazing is a meditative process.
Initially, you might feel weird or uncomfortable. But, what’s more painful, staying frozen in life, trapped in your fear, or looking into the sleepy eyes of your reflection?
Do this exercise when you are waking up or going to sleep. Remove your contacts or eyeglasses during this exercise. That’s the only way to meet your spirit and introduce yourself to her.
Tell her you love her, you are there for her, and together you will get through this.
How to Meditate to Find Bravery
Fear stems from a lack of love.
When you learn to love yourself, your self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence grow.
You might feel very confident at work but when it comes to things that matter, things that are close to home, your heart, you may falter.
There’s no blame, shame, or guilt to it.
Becoming braver is an acquired trait. You learn it through the tender love and care you receive as a child. But if you didn’t, then now is the time to relive your childhood and learn to be that adult in your life, the one you didn’t have.
Learn how to be brave through the practice of loving-kindness meditation.
The following is Metta meditation as taught by Buddha, and takes a few minutes a day.
If this is your first time meditating, do it sitting. When you're comfortable with sitting, you can do this while standing, walking, doing your dishes, folding your clothes, or any place you feel physically safe and comfortable.
Sit on your cushion, chair, or bed. Inhale slow long deep, hold, exhale slow long deep, pause. There needs to be a gap between your inhalations and exhalations.
This helps the energy you draw in to integrate with your life force. Rushing to breathe in and out keeps your mind busy in repetitive thoughts and without your awareness.
Related: How to Clear Your Mind
When you slow down, you notice your thoughts.
Here’s the catch: Notice them and let them be. Awareness occurs when you don’t engage with what you notice.
Take four of those slow, long, deep inhalations and exhalations with brief pauses between. These pauses create the gap where you become aware of your true nature which is pure light, a brave spirit.
After four breaths, return to your normal rhythmic breathing.
Notice your buttocks where you placed them, notice the pressure, and give it a name, in this case, "sitting."
Observe your breath flow through your nostrils, your chest rise and collapse, your abdomen expand and contract. Say to yourself, "Breathing in, breathing in, breathing in."
Become aware of the outline of your body, from top to bottom, front to back, side to side. When you breathe out say to yourself, "Exhaling, exhaling, exhaling."
When you give a name to something, it's easier to focus on it. After a few of your normal inhalations and exhalations, affirm the following condensed Metta phrases.
"May I live peacefully and harmoniously in myself and with others. May I have the patience, strength, mindfulness, and wisdom to meet and overcome all difficulties in life."
"May my parents, family, relatives, teachers, and good friends be free from greed, hatred, and delusion. May they live peacefully and harmoniously in themselves and with others. May they have the patience, strength, mindfulness, and wisdom to meet and overcome all difficulties in life."
"May all other living beings also be free from greed, hatred, and delusion. May they live peacefully and harmoniously in themselves and with others. May they have the patience, strength, mindfulness, and wisdom to meet and overcome all difficulties in life."
End your meditation with an inclusive affirmation: "May all beings be well, peaceful and wise."
When you do these mindfulness meditations daily at least twice, your fears dissolve and you feel brave. It takes time, committed practice, and a lot of self-love.
Keya Murthy, MS, is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Spiritual Life Coach and Energy Medicine Practitioner at Ventura Healing Center. She's an international best selling author and her eleventh book The Book On Happiness: How To Have Peace And Stability As A Working Mom is available for you on Amazon.