I ended last week’s blog with the quote from Winnie the Pooh. The whole quote actually goes like this:
You are BRAVER than you believe
STRONGER than you seem and
Smarter than you think you are
Now, here at Headspace Guildford, and in the NHS, I have met a number of people who I know would disagree with this quote. They don’t believe they are strong, brave or smart. We often don’t believe these things about ourselves. In fact, we’re always encouraged to be self-effacing, humble and self-deprecating. How often are children told not to show off, not to go on about their successes, not to make a big deal of things. It’s easy to dismiss compliments. It’s much harder to look inside ourselves and acknowledge what we are good at and where are strengths lie. Much harder still to be brave and strong when we feel defeated and weak.
I tell all the children and the grown-ups that I work with, that being brave doesn’t mean not feeling scared. Being brave is truly ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’. I see incredibly bravery every day from the young people I work with. The bravery to sit in a dark room when you are massively scared of the dark. The bravery to go into school for the first time having not been in school for weeks. The bravery to tell someone about your worst fears and your darkest days. It takes huge courage to come to see a Psychologist, huge courage to talk about the things you feel the worst about, huge courage to listen to what the psychologist is saying, and the hugest courage of all to start changing things. But those people I see are also smart (even though they sometimes don’t think they are). They realise (or come to realise) that being brave will result in them beating anxiety/depression/anger or sadness and that it can result in them feeling better. And they also come to realise that they are not alone – for that’s another wise thing written in the Winnie the Pooh books, this time said by piglet.
Being sure of the people around you helps you to be braver. So, if you need some bravery, take courage from those people you are around, who spend time with you, who know that you are stronger, wiser and braver than you think you are. And remember you may be that person to other people. Never underestimate what you mean to others, and never underestimate yourself. You are not alone and you can do hard things.