Everyday Act of Bravery #4 – Know Yourself

The fourth of Todd Henry’s Everyday Acts of Bravery: Know Yourself.

I know what you’re asking. It’s the same question that occurred to me when I first heard this one: Sorry–what? How is that an act of bravery?

But spend a little time reflecting on it, and it starts to make sense. How many of us are completely honest with ourselves all the time?

  • It’s good enough, we tell ourselves, when we know it isn’t.
  • She’ll love it, we think, when we know we waited too long and it’s not the best gift we could have found.
  • I can get there on time, we say as we rush out the door, knowing we’re too late.

And those are the superficial ones. Go look at your reflection in the mirror. How long can you meet your own eyes? The answer might illuminate how honest you’ve been with yourself.

And being honest with yourself is critical to creativity.

I’ve spent several months now well and thoroughly blocked. Well, blocked may be the wrong word: I’ve been waiting for an inspiration that didn’t come, largely because I tried to live to a set of priorities that doesn’t fit who I am, or who I want to be. I can’t say more than that at the moment–but when I decided to reorder my priorities, when I wrote out my bucket list and it still didn’t contain the things I was trying so hard to achieve, I knew I needed to reconsider aspects of my life I thought were important.

And the words started flowing. Because I finally decided to be honest with myself. It was hard–that’s why it took months to do it.

The truth is, I have a pretty good idea who I am by now. I know what I’m good at and what I enjoy. And it’s much easier to create, to become the best me I can be, when I stop trying to enjoy things that don’t align with who I am.

That’s what knowing myself means to me.

What about you? What do you need to admit to yourself in order to unlock your creativity?

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.