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Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 | 29 comments

12 Tips on How to be Brave

I have to admit I am not the most courageous woman on earth.  In fact, I chicken out easily.  I am scared of heights and planes.  I don’t like to drive on the freeway at night or surround myself with water (don’t know how to swim).  Snakes are my number one phobia.  To make matters worse, I get easily scared at common situations (like I am entering a restroom and somebody unexpectedly opens the doors to come out).  My husband says he wants to move of our apartment because he is ashamed of the many times I scream during the week (his fault since he scares me all the time).

But see, somehow my fear of planes does not prevent me from traveling more than once a year, my fear for driving at night does not stop me from visiting my friends and my horrible fear for snakes does not deter me from getting into Central American jungles in search of Mayan ruins.  As I said, I don’t consider myself a die-hard adventurer but I have found inner strength to do many things.  Things that at some moment were only wishes or dreams.

That is why I have decided to share what has worked for me.  My purpose is to help you find your inner courage and push it forward.

  1. Fear is always going to be there – C.S. Lewis said that “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it”.  In the same way, courage cannot be seen as the absence of fear.  In life, we are going to be scared many times.  The key is to learn how to manage and face our fears.
  2. In a way, we should we grateful for our fears – We are actually designed to feel fear.  It is a survival instinct or response.  When you start feeling anxious about something, it is time to evaluate the situation and make a decision.
  3. Make a decision to be brave – What I mentioned in the previous bullets sounds simple.  Right?  Not necessarily.  Every person reacts different to diverse situations.  There is not a magic recipe to manage your fears easily.  However, the first step is to start by taking a decision.  You have to decide to be brave, courageous, audacious.  Decide that fear is not going to control you.  See it as an opportunity to grow.
  4. Don’t think physical courage is the most important kind – People can jump off bridges, planes, mountains or buildings. And that is cool.  Conversely, the bravery required to perform those acts is not the one that is going to help you move from your current situation.  Sometimes, intangible fears (mental ones) interfere more with our day to day life.  Consequently, concentrate your liberating efforts on the fears that REALLY matter to you. Don’t try to work around them.
  5. Accept your limitations – You are not Superman or Superwoman.  You are not going to be able to do all things, all the time.  So, it is ok if you decide not to do something.  Which brings me to number 6.
  6. Forget about what others think or say – Do what feels right for you.  You do not have to prove anything (maybe to yourself).  People who truly care for you will respect your decisions and will not push you to an uncomfortable situation.
  7. Work out those brain muscles – Know you strengths, goals and values.  A deep knowledge of yourself will help you confront stressful situations.  Chances are they will kick in when you need them most.
  8. Keep in mind your most daring moments – Remember that time you climbed the tall mountain, asked for a raise or had a heart to heart talk with that person?  Think about the times you have been able to break free from your fears.  Those moments where you have felt powerful, invulnerable, on the top of the world.  The more you think about those proud moments, the more fearless you are going to feel.
  9. Count on others – Repeat after me:  it is fine to ask for help.  Using somebody’s help is not a sign of weakness.   You don’t have an idea how many times my husband has helped me to get thru some moments.  Open up and accept help.
  10. If you are hesitant about a situation, ask for specific details – Ignorance can contribute to worsen our fears.  So, get informed!!! Don’t hesitate to ask and don’t assume things.  For example, I was once hesitant about a caving excursion in Belize.  I asked a tour company representative a lot of questions related to swimming inside the cave (remember I can’t swim).  The representative kindly answered my questions and I decided to take the excursion.  I calmed down and was able to enjoy.
  11. Don’t cross the river before getting to the bridge – In other words, don’t make up a big list of fatalistic scenarios that “without doubt” you will encounter.  Do you know that about 95% of our worries don’t ever materialize?  Don’t torture yourself.  That is why I suggested asking for details.  That is how you can separate what is real from what is not.
  12. You are tougher than you think – All of us have gone thru a lot of daring moments but we usually don’t credit ourselves for them. You may have given birth (oh my), raised your children, been a good wife/daughter or helped others.  These do not sound that exiting but they actually are!!!   A lot of cowards out there turn their back at the ones who need them most.  So you are stronger than you think because life has ways to get out the best in you.  Always remember that.

What has helped you to confront your fears?  Let me know in the comments section below.


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  1. Hi Ruth,

    just wanted to tell you that I like your article well done.

    I also believe that with the right attitude, preparation and determination you can do anything you want to achieve. As a little example of my own life:
    I went to London and people said “He’s not gonna make it, he’s to much of a mammies boy”, (I spend 10 years in London), I went to university and people “He was not good a High School, how is he gonna pass university” (I passed with the second best grade), I didn’t get a good job for a while and people said “Is he gonna achieve anything in life?” (I managed to get a job for a multinational company) and now I have started my own company and it is not yet successful and already now people start to judge……

    So always try to achieve your dreams and goals, show the right determination and go for it, sometimes it will go well and sometimes will fall on your nose. Stand up again, get a new plan and go for it.

    Anyway, that’s enough, good article Ruth



    • Marco,
      Thanks for stopping by. I identify with a lot of the examples you have presented. Thanks for being so honest and giving us your thoughts on how to achieve our dreams and hopes.
      Ruth recently posted..12 Tips on How to be BraveMy Profile

    • U r a great person. I will also follow as a role model to change my life to a better tomorow. Thank you again.

  2. Well done on this article Ruth!

    It’s these fears that hold so many of us back from accomplishing our goals or just doing the things that we want to be doing – and you covered a great list of ways to brave up to these fears.

    I try to use #2 quite frequently, trying to use my fears to my advantage as a way to execute new ideas and make new decisions.
    Mark Wiens recently posted..Biking in Yangshuo, China: Pedaling Through Ancient Villages and Karst Mountain PeaksMy Profile

    • Mark,
      You use a great way to minimize your fears. Sometimes fear help us to focus and develop new ways of thinking. Usually, when I am stressed out and scared, I try to breath and calm down. Once I am calmed an idea to solve my problem comes to my mind.
      Ruth recently posted..12 Tips on How to be BraveMy Profile

  3. I just basically just try to stay away from things that scare me – spiders, snakes, deep ocean water (there’s SHARKS in there!), heights. Although I do go on things that are high – the Grand Canyon Sky Bridge! – I’m never really relaxed and comfortable but I want the experience, so I do face my fears in that way, I guess. When I went on out my deck a while back and there was a huge (harmless) snake sunning himself, however, I turned immediately and ran inside to get my husband. Come on – there are limitations!!
    Jan Ross recently posted..Stupid Travel Mistakes We MadeMy Profile

    • We kind of approach fears in the same way. Sometimes I stay away from things that scare me but other times I get in a situation where I know there is a possibility of encountering the thing I fear. Like going to the jungles of Central and South America. I know there are possibilities of encountering snakes (which I hate) but I go anyway (thankfully I have never encountered one). I tell to myself that everything is going to be ok. And I am scared of heights but have been on some high places and want to do the Sky Bridge too.

  4. I promised myself to never let fear hold me back from an experience I want to have. But, I am afraid of flying, so I am never comfortable during my flight involved travels. Oh, how I wish I could just go to sleep like everyone else!
    Annette | Bucket List Journey recently posted..Confessions of a Hotel Soap StealerMy Profile

    • Same here. I just want to sleep on a plane!!! I have tried several remedies and none have worked.
      Ruth recently posted..12 Tips on How to be BraveMy Profile

  5. what a great article – this doesn’t apply only to travel…Great life advice!!

    the one thing that i usually have in my mind is that so long as I’m not doing anything stupid, use a bit of common sense, and I exercise a modicum of safety measures, then things will usually work out well!
    jenjenk recently posted..Turkey: Best Fish Sandwich in IstanbulMy Profile

    • Jen,
      You are right. A lot of our fears are irrational and invented. So if you think nabout them with a cold head you are probably going to discover that you are not doing anything dangerous (your mind think is dangerous).
      Ruth recently posted..12 Tips on How to be BraveMy Profile

  6. nice one ruth! fear is definitely something encountered all the time travelling. the greatest feeling is getting over your fears and doing something out of your comfort zone. the buzz afterwards and the sense of accomplishment is amazing!
    jamie – cloud people adventures recently posted..Reflections on ImmigrationMy Profile

    • If we are not willing to get out of our comfort zone, I don’t know where we will be. Imagine stopping doing something just because you are afraid. Like I said in my opening paragraph, I don’t think I would have a life. So I try to get out of my comfort zone sometimes. And you know what. Then, I discover it wasn’t that bad (after worrying for days, see why worrying is not worthwhile).
      Ruth recently posted..12 Tips on How to be BraveMy Profile

  7. On some things I am fearful and others I am not. I have to admit fear is a part of my life that goes back to my childhood. It really doesn’t affect me that much when I travel but it definitely has an impact on my life. I think fear has a lot to do with trust so maybe there is a correlation to how much you depend on and trust people in your life. I don’t know.

    At times, I have been quite adventurous and it is something I am capable of. However, fear does play a role.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..5 of the most haunted places on earthMy Profile

    • Jeremy,
      You are touching a real good point. A lot of our fears as adults are because of unresolved situations of the past. I think some of my fears are related to things my parents never let me do because they thought they were dangerous. Once you are an adult, you kind of remember those moments. I believe we can surpass all those fears (or traumas or whatever you will like to call them). It is not worthwhile to live holding up all that your entire life.
      Ruth recently posted..12 Tips on How to be BraveMy Profile

  8. This is a great post Ruth. I particularly agree with #9, since I do tend to lean on people and doing things as a group or getting support from someone makes the task seem somehow less daunting. Although I admit I don’t share many of your fears (I love snakes!) I do have some of my own that include the helpless feeling I get when I cannot understand the language where I am traveling at and my patience wears thin- again, I rely on others to help me out and there is nothing wrong with that. Some really good advice here.
    Mica recently posted..The local bus & the rest on foot-hiking to the Boh Tea PlantationMy Profile

  9. I like your article Ruth. I agree that most bravery comes from everyday life. I do not fear things like snakes, heights, or airplanes because logically the chances of me dying from these things are slim. I don’t really fear death actually. I fear an inadequate life. I fear being in a car accident not because I may die but because I might have to live paralyzed. I fear the lawsuit I am in because it may cause me to live in high debt my whole life. I eat well not because I want to live longer but because I don’t want to live with diabetes or cancer. I fear I may never accomplish my hopes. I wish there were better ways to find bravery in these situations. I’ll hang with a snake any day but how does one find bravery in situations that will affect the rest of their life? I don’t know.

  10. Fine article….

    BRACE YOURSELF…this is what I believe in..

    • I agree to this… you need to just go for it and expect to find fears somewhere in life…. we were designed to feel fear! All the same, I am afraid of planes because they might crash land, (sorry, I didn’t want to scare people about going on planes, but pretty much everyone I know has had this thought!:) ) but this doesn’t stop me from riding on them, I just have to sit next to an experienced member of my family who aren’t scared of going on planes. P.S, Ruth, this helped me LOADS!Xx

  11. Dear Ruth
    I was gazed at school and for almost two years I have been scared of everything. I am slowly recovering, I keep this page on my phone and read it when I’m scared. I love you and appreciate you, thank you.

  12. Its good idea to share thaughts about the different feelings of human beings, we all are humans and in some point we all have feelings of being scared, the best thing to do about getting ur self away from scaaring is to always be confident and always be positive no matter what , once I was working in a gas satation and was midnite suddenly a guy showed up wit a gun in his hand asking for money , I told him wait here I give u the money, I opened the cash register and threw the whole rack on his face which gave him a bloody face and I jumped on him and threw him on the floor and hand cuffed him until the police arrived , so always be positive there s no such owrd as scared

  13. hi, this is varinder

    I like your post very much. please guide me in this situation, what to do when somebody wants to fight with me it is due to land dispute. I know i am right but other person is doing injustice to me. i am scared of fights. how in this case i could overcome my fear for fights. do i go and have fight with him and overcome my fear for fights. i need your suggestions.

  14. Thanks a lot Ruth. A very well written article.. I considered myself a coward person, but after reading your article a big change is produced in me. . Now I feel Relax. . And i recognized that I can do What I am made for,, Yes we have limitations at our own grounds. .Thanks

    And one thing more,after reading your article I’ve become a fan of you.. I dream to go with you for a nice date one day . .Hope you would enjoy

  15. Thanks Ruth speaking the truth,

    Is hard and to say I need to be brave in situations. We all have our own methods to keep calm and relaxed meditation is a great way I find to calm the mind and breath.

    I’m currently waiting for my flight to Peru and I’m terrified, all I can say is i’m prepare as much as I can for my adventure and to embrace my thought and feelings.If I don’t I will live with regret !


  16. Keep it up Ruth,
    Though am still struggling getting on my feets!Thanks tho am gonna get up too.

  17. Thanks for helping me.I am motivated by your speech.

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