Brave. It’s an interesting word. For some of us it conjures up images of muscle-clad heroes defeating foes, or people overcoming terrible odds to come out on top – climbing Mount Everest; surviving being shipwrecked at sea; coping with cancer treatment.
There is no doubt that those things do take bravery. But thinking of ‘Brave’ in such big terms can put us off thinking about ourselves as ‘brave’ if we don’t feel we have ever achieved anything amazing or battled through a horrible ordeal. This #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek I am putting in a good word for being brave on a small scale: ‘brave’ but not BIG can be just as important and just as worthy of our attention.
I think most people’s every day lives can take an element of bravery to get through. And to be honest, teens’ lives often more so than anyone else’s. Because teens are faced with challenges all the time, many of which aren’t of their choosing and aren’t in their control. They don’t get to choose whether they go into school everyday, or face those particular bullies on the bus, or put up with their friend who is having a really tough time, or sit that exam.
No, none of these are huge, out of the ordinary or unusual tasks, but they do all take some courage to handle. If we give bravery more attention when it helps us through these smaller challenges, it is more likely to feel strong enough to handle the big stuff when it does come along. Parents – give your teens’ Bravery some attention and watch it grow! And teens - remember to give yourselves a pat on the back, to give your Bravery a big thumbs up when it helps you get through something difficult, and that will make it much more likely that it will show up when you really need it. #FindYourBrave
With best wishes,
Dr Helen Care, Psychologist