I have heard the saying, "if you see something, say something," so many times as the prompt to get people to speak out about racism, hatred, microaggressions and more.
Yet, that is so much easier said than done. What if the offender of the racist tome is your spouse, or father or mother? Even at work, what if the offender is your supervisor or worse the leader of the company.
But being brave...well it means being brave. You absolutely cannot test courage. You will either have the courage when the time comes, or you will retreat.
So how do you work your way up to courage or bravery? I have started a new habit with my granddaughters that I did with my own kids when they were little. While my kids were little, I would slip little notes in their lunch boxes everyday with I Am statements or positive affirmations that helped build their courage to overcome the anxiety of grade school, junior high and high school. It is a form of visioning. And to be brave and courageous is all about shaping behavior.
As a former behavior therapist, I knew the importance of changing behavior to achieve positive outcomes for performance. Every morning I send both granddaughters a text message reminding them to say their I Am statements. What are those...well, "I Am brave." "I am courageous." "I am smart." "I am wise." "I am beautiful." "I am going to change the world."
Changing the world from one that is filled with hateful rhetoric is all about changing and influencing behavior. Starting today, create your own I Am statements to remind yourself that you are powerful in this world. Remind yourself that you are here on the planet for a purpose. Remind yourself that it is okay and so necessary for you to speak up, speak out and be brave for those whose voices do not carry that strong timbre.
And I am not talking just about our white allies. I have seen people of color ignore statements directed towards other BIPOC people that have literally left my soul damaged. Of course, I would have to stand up and stand in. Never feeling like I was the only compassionate voice in the room. Why? I am strong, I am courageous, I am brave.
Today, use your voice. Speak up and speak out. Lean into those who think it is okay to speak words that wound and hurt. Today stop tolerating less from others, even those in your own circle of influence. We can transform the world, one brave voice at a time.
One of my favorite songs is from Whitney Houston, that she released at a time in her life when she was really going through a lot of pain. That song, "I didn't know my own strength," has been my mantra for many years.
"I didn't know my own strength
And I crashed down and I tumbled but I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn't know my own strength
Survived my darkest hour, my faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up, hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I did not know my own strength...
...I was not built to break, no, no
I got to know my own strength."
When we lean in and become brave...when we learn to speak up and speak out, we realize we are not meant to break...we get to know our own strength.
This week, practice speaking up for yourself and someone else. Look for opportunities to use your voice, or offer your opinion on behalf of those whose voices are not heard as loudly.
No, it is not as easy as, "if you see something, say something," but you can learn to use your voice by reminding yourself daily, I Am Here to Change the World!"
"And that's a brilliant glimpse of insight!"