The definition of bravery, according to Merriam-Webster, is "the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty."
I've always thought that bravery was laughing in the face of danger, facing your fears. I've always pictured someone jumping in the water to save a person from drowning or standing between a group of children and a gunman. But throughout my own life, I never would have described myself as brave, because what have I really done to call myself "brave" or say that bravery is a constant trait of my personality?
I've never saved a drowning person or faced a gunman. But looking at the definition right in front of me, I know more brave people that I can even count, and brave is something I can say that I have been. I had never considered that mental strength while facing difficulty was brave until I realized that the things I've been through could cause anyone to break down, and although I have had my share of breakdowns, continuing to face them as best I could, makes me strong and brave.
Not to mention, those around me are continually brave. One of my best friends lost her mom a week after we moved to college, and I've watched her face her sadness and difficulty, and keep going. A coworker who has become a treasured person in my life since we've worked together has faced her demons head on and has come out stronger on the other side, which is something I look up to.
She's been brave and has kept going and I admire her. Another friend of mine has been through illness, mental health issues, and so much more and she keeps on every day with her head held high and she remains strong. This list goes on and on. So many people I know face their own difficulties every single day, including myself and each and every one of us stay brave and keeps fighting. Because we're strong, and we're brave.
One day I was looking at tattoos because I was wanting to add to my collection, and I found one that was a tiny wrist tattoo, with the words, "be brave." In that exact moment I knew, I wanted those words on my body forever, as a reminder to myself that you can face any difficulty and come out stronger on the other side, you just have to stay strong and be brave to do so.
So, along with a friend of mine, we both went and got tattoos - me, "be brave" and her, a semicolon. Both tattoos that mean the world to each of us and it was so special that we could get them together. Now, I wake up every day and as I look at the words on my arm, it makes me happy that not only do I forever have a reminder of my past strength, but a reminder to be strong in the face of future difficulties.
Be brave, everyone.