Many times we think that being brave means doing heroic and extraordinary. Things like swimming with sharks, climbing Mount Everest or visiting remote places we herald as acts of valor. To many, a brave person is someone who is not afraid of anything. But, this is not quite right.

The word courage comes from the Latin ‘cor’, which means heart and refers to the ability to follow our heart. Being brave means to be ourselves, to express what we feel and think. Give voice to your needs and your requests. When we are heroic, we risk our life. When we are courageous, we show our inner vulnerability. The mind screams that we run the risk of being judged, ridiculed, removed, boycotted, or not to be loved. And so often we choose the road that seems more secure, that of silence.

Choosing the language of silence and not pushing beyond necessary boundaries, will soon create feelings of self-exploitation. And when we cannot take it anymore, we burn out, ruining our relationships and friendships. Women, we are brave! Sometimes we just need to be reminded of how courageous and amazing we are.

1. You are not your past

We can make mistakes, but we are not our mistakes. Each of us carries her emotional baggage. We would not be the people we are today without the experiences we had, which deeply transformed us. Make peace with your past. Every day is a new opportunity to be a better person and to take a step closer to your dreams. Forgive the people that hurt you and forgive yourself for anything that makes you still feel bad, and then move forward.

2. You are not your actions

One of the topics, of which (unfortunately) there is still so much confusion, is self-esteem. I see it with many people, professionals, sportsmen, or simple parents who are proud of their children’s success. For every result they earn, their esteem (self-esteem) increases. Self-esteem is the esteem that comes from ourselves, from the simple fact that we exist. It is a birthright and does not depend, or rather, should not depend, on any external event. So why is it so hard to feel unconditional love for ourselves? The problem is that our ego will, at times, play tricks on us, making us doubt our value. We end up seeking confirmation outside (e.g. career, age, physical appearance, money) and not within us. How things would change if you had the certainty of being loved in any situation and whatever you decide to do. You can choose to feel that way right now, but it depends, exclusively, on you.

3. You’re stronger than you think

We all have an extraordinary inner strength, but sometimes we are so harsh and critical with ourselves that we do not even realize it. You are stronger than you think. Think about all the times in which life events have tested you and you managed to standup to them, against all odds. You reacted with determination and courage. If you made it at that time, you’ll make it again.

4. You can be anything you want to be

The real courage is following your heart, even when the mind orders you to do exactly the opposite. What did you want to do when you were a child? Do not let the external conditions, judgments, and expectations put your desires aside. It’s never too late to be what you have always wanted to be.

5. Courage is not the absence of fear, rather the ability not to be stopped by it

Fear is an important emotion. In fact, it works as an alarm bell and makes us think before we act. Many people think that a courageous person is someone who is not afraid of anything and is willing to take risks. That’s not quite right—-a courageous person is afraid just like other people, but they don’t let fear stop them. A brave person recognizes her/his fear, accepts it and does not try to deny it (in this way, in fact, the emotion will grow stronger). When you feel stuck, ask yourself: “What would I do if I were not afraid?” Let the voice of your heart speak, listen to it with confidence and trust life!

6. It’s time to make your voice heard

We can no longer hide in our shell or behind ‘not good enough’ or ‘if I do something, people will criticize me.’ We need to make ourselves heard! We must free our feminine energy and spread it in the world. The time for change has come. We all have tremendous potential; let’s develop it for the benefit of our society.