Bold. What does it mean to be bold?
For me, being bold always means stepping into something that I fear. It means going up to that attractive woman in the store and making a comment to her. It means having a hard conversation with my partner. This is about experiencing fear and going into the fear rather than running away.
I can remember being bold when I was snowboarding. There’s always a point, as I’m picking up speed on the mountain, when I start to feel like I’m about to lose it. If I allow the fear to take over I generally lose my balance and fall. Next, as I got more clear about this experience I started to realize letting the fear take over caused me to lose my balance. In order to maintain my balance I didn’t distract myself with music or pretending I wasn’t afraid. Instead I leaned directly into the fear. And, I still have the sensations of fear in my body as I’m going down the hill. But instead of allowing the fear to take over I just face it completely accepting what’s going to happen. There’s no loss of balance or loss of focus.
Being bold and courageous means facing the stuff we don’t want to face.
Fear, anxiety, sadness are all an inevitable part of your life. There’s no way around these emotions – there’s only through it.
The first step in facing something like fear is admitting it exists. I know for myself that living in denial was a strategy I had for getting through all of the intensity in my body. “You afraid?” “No, I’m cool, this is easy.” The loser in all of this was me. I didn’t perform nearly as well at many things. Now I feel into my body and notice what is happening. “I’m feeling anxious about this mountain biking route.” “It could be a doozy.” By acknowledging my experience I immediately notice that my system relaxes.
The second step in facing fear is to bring awareness to it. In order to do that it’s necessary to become an embodied human being. This means you have to start to feel what is happening in your body. Right now, think for a moment how you are doing? Are you neutral, bored, angry, sad, filled with joy? How would you know? By noticing what is happening in your body. If you want to be a bold man and face your fear you have to notice when it is happening inside you. When I was racing down the mountain on my snowboard I noticed a shortness of breath and a tensing in my chest and legs (no wonder I lost my balance). Now when I sense this happening I breath deeper and relax my body. It immediately helps me regain my footing.
Uncomfortable emotions will always appear (momentarily) in your life.
As I walk through my life I can see the continuous moments of anxiety, sadness, uncomfortableness, and depression. These momentary emotional states are inevitable. What is not inevitable is how we relate to these emotions.
The work of men today is learning how to be with rising and falling emotional states. It is not to push these sensations away by acting is if it they aren’t happening. It’s not to indulge the state, allowing the emotion to override us, and become violent or full of rage. Instead, it is to form a new emotional experience that involves presence, sensation and awareness.
If you want to be bold in life it is important to get off the emotional roller coaster that so many of us live on.
While it may seem that repressing emotions, acting as if they don’t exist, is a way to get off this ride. But the reality is that these emotions show up in our lives regardless. They come out in ways that we don’t plan. If you want to do deal with emotions you have to face them head on with complete awareness. This can happen by first accepting yourself as an emotional being. Emotions are important in getting information for our continued survival. We can use this information in healthy ways to respect the dignity of those around us as well as our own integrity.
Your woman is waiting. She wants to feel your bold powerful energy. Are you ready to step in to the fire of your emotional experience? Are you willing to do the interior work that allows you to be the man you’ve always wanted to be?