Mind & Spirit

A manifesto for being brave



I’ve had Sara Bareille’s song Brave on repeat in my car, my iPod, my stereo (yes, I still use a stereo!) for well over two years now. And today, still, no matter how many hundreds of times I’ve heard it, these lines still makes me cry:

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly; I wanna see you be brave

I remember a time when the words couldn’t come out, when fear stopped me up like a cork, when I had

Fallen for the fear…
Done some disappearing,
Bowed down to the mighty

Then I remember when I found my voice again, first through my personal blog, then through online magazines, and then out loud, through the formerly silent, dark spaces of my thoughts. Tiny flecks of courage were finding their way above water again and taking in big gulps of air, breathing, breathing, breathing. I realised sometimes, the bravest thing I could do was to do nothing but sit and watch my own breath for three. slow. counts.

So many of us, so much of the time respond only to what we fear. We shrink ourselves, quieten our voices, quell our intuition, dampen our wisdom for fear of being too big, or too loud, or too out of line.

But if we can just learn to be ourselves — and express what that means — we can never be too much of anything.

Look at the animal world: we don’t see a lion and think he’s “too strong”; scold a peacock for being “too bright”; become angry at birds for being “too loud”. Why shouldn’t we also find our own place in this big, beautyfull, bold eco-system and not be scared of that place?

Can we be brave enough to stand up to fear and stop it from shunting us into corners? 

Can we be brave enough to listen to the fire in our hearts and bellies that tell us every single moment where we need to go and what we need to do?

Can we be brave enough to be ourselves?

This is my manifesto for finding that courage whenever you need it. It comes from my wide open heart to yours.

Be brave enough to say yes to the things you want: the deep ache that you feel all through your cells, the one that knows what will make you the best you and fill you up with the most enduring happiness.

Be brave enough to say no to the things that don’t serve you: turn away what hurts you without helping you grow, what makes you small, what makes you feel less than yourself and makes you shrink. Say no to everything that doesn’t give you that deep “yes” ache.

Be brave enough to allow yourself to feel happiness: all of it — from the big, great life-changing things, to the surprises, to the tiniest things. And not feel guilty for it.

Be brave enough to be give yourself kindness and to receive it: you deserve it as much as anyone else — if not more so.

Be brave enough to choose love: because often, choosing the loving, love-ful way is so much harder than choosing to (re)act from fear and anger and hatred. But the pay-off is always, always wider and deeper and larger than you could imagine in that moment, oh so much larger.

Be brave enough to rest: so many things happen in that quiet space between action, when we rest. Find the courage to make yourself stop running around in circles. As we rest, we relax into wisdom, creativity and who we really are.

Be brave enough to be alone: this is where the best magic happens, where you discover just how freeing it is to realise that everything you’ve needed to be happy is not from anyone but you, yourself and you.

Be brave enough to create: and as you do so, know that what you have to say, sing, draw, paint, mould and put out into the world is valuable and true and needed.

Be brave enough to look after your body: feed yourself well, move your body in ways that will make it happy, make it strong, make it soft, feel sensual, feel pleasure. Your body lets you do everything you need to in this life and you deserve to feel nourished, energised and joyful in it.

Be brave enough to set boundaries: and honour them. Your body and your space is sacred, and you deserve to protect it from things that won’t serve you.

Be brave enough to trust your intuition: even if feels strange, even if it tells you things that seem surprising, even if it’s completely opposite to what “everyone else” is saying — it will never fail to tell you what is best and wholesome and real for you.

Be brave enough to just breathe: for when things are too much, too heavy, too tiresome, too fearful, there is no shame in slowing everything down. Know that you are incredible for daring to do nothing in this moment (or hour or day) but take one long breath after another… after another… after another.

I wish you courage.

I wish you fearless trust in yourself. 

I wish you ferocity of heart. 

I wish that you discover how brave you really are — because when you do, you’ll also uncover the love, the kindness, the wisdom, the joy and the unutterable peace that has forever resided deep and weighty in your fierce, fine heart. 

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Jamie Khoo

Jamie Khoo

Jamie is the one-(wo)man-band and founder of a beauty full mind. She's loved writing and words from the moment she started to read, and has written plenty for magazines such as Elle and Time Out Kuala Lumpur, and websites such as elephant journal. Sick of being told by mainstream media and society what she should think of as "beautiful" or not, she started this website to challenge normalised beauty ideals and create new definitions and conversations. Follow her beauty and body journey on Instagram @breatheitallinworkitallout

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