What Does Brave Mean?

When I posted my progress photos for my 4-Hour Body update, I hesitated before hitting publish.

My fingers shook a little…was I actually going to show the world my tummy? Uncovered in all its poochy glory?

4HB-Tummy-Week 2 Progress

Don’t get me wrong — I am very proud of my body, not only for how it looks, but for what it lets me do. I’ve even shown it to the world before as part of my Exposed contribution.

But I felt like I needed to work up courage to post such intimate, private photos…even if they might help somebody who is looking for an honest review of a product.

So yes, I felt brave. I even gloried in my bravery a bit. Until this comment, which may be one of the most thought-provoking, genuine and dang-it-all EYE-OPENING comments I’ve ever gotten.

I have been a silent reader of your blog for a while now, and I have never commented, but I just wanted to say something…

A few other commenters have said you are “brave” for posting your pics. Maybe I’m reading into this too much…but brave implies that there’s something scary about it…it implies doing something strong when confronted with an unpleasant situation. I certainly hope *you* didn’t read into it this way, but if you did, I hope you don’t think that there’s anything “brave” about it, because the use of that word would certainly bother me (I’m sure that no one meant it negatively, but I just had to say something). I think it’s AWESOME that you shared your pics and you look great! Your abs are really much slimmer, although you hardly have much to slim down! Anyway, I will return to lurking now…:)

D, thank you for that. THANK YOU. Because you’re right, on so many levels.

  1. Brave is not putting a belly picture on the Internet where your many loving friends and supporters can see it. Brave is overcoming disease. Brave is putting your life on the line for someone or something else. Brave is doing the right thing even when it means risking your job. Brave is finding the will to do what you’re afraid to do.
  2. There is nothing unpleasant about worshiping my body and THANKING it for all it lets me do. For surviving fad diets, scale yo-yos, all-nighters and dangerous stunts.
  3. Anyone who would look at the photos and laugh, mock, revolt or otherwise disrespect me is not someone I would care to know anyway. Those of you who came, commented, supported, loved and cheered — YOU are the people I want in my life.

There are times in my life I know that I’ll need to call on my courage and bravery. This is not one of those times.

So I’m not feeling brave. I’m feeling proud of myself and my accomplishments.

What have you done that truly is brave?

P.S. New progress photos coming Saturday, so make sure you’re subscribed by RSS or by email!

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Comments

    • says

      LOVED your post…I left you a comment, but I wanted to tell you here that I totally agree…and I’m ashamed that there’s not a whole lot that I’d risk my life for. Great conversation starter.

  1. says

    I think I might have been one of the people who commented on your “bravery” – if not I certainly thought it.

    I’m not sure why we have an obsession with pulling apart words, disecting them, and debating their true meaning. Why can’t it mean ALL of the above.

    It’s interesting that you referenced an example about “doing the right thing at work” I have often been praised for my workplace ethics. I never had a problem doing the ‘right thing” but as I interpreted. In fact, I would go as far as judging my direct reports if they didn’t. It would get to me personally and I’d hold it against them. My old boss, a very wise mentor told me that not everything is black and white, there are always shades of grey. He told me that my standard is not necessarily right and opened me up to the fact that I may be professionally demotivating my team and personally hurting their feelings. He taught me to add context to each situation and see the degree of “grey” on a case by case basis.

    Can’t words like bravery have different degrees? Who gets to decide on the standard of other words like:

    – balance
    – courage
    – generosity

    In the context of posting a revealing photo on the web – I’ll stick with my original thought – you ARE brave.

    • says

      Agreed! And when we live in a society where people are so critical of one another (and in which women’s bodies especially are criticized so much), I’d venture to say that really owning what you have and posting the photo in spite of that risk of criticism (absolutely a potentially unpleasant situation) is, indeed, a brave move.

      Once again, kudos to you!

    • says

      LOVE you girls, not just for coming to my defense, but for keeping the conversation going. I think we’re all right. Bravery can have different degrees…fighting in a war is a much higher level of bravery than posting pictures on the Internet, but both come with risks.

      Thanks…

  2. says

    I love when the lurkers come out of the dark- they offer such great insight.

    My brave was saving my husbands life when at 3:30 in the morning I woke up to him in a Cardiac Arrest- he was clinically dead- with my CPR he wouldnt be here today.

    Thanks for asking-

  3. says

    I agree that bravery implies something different for me. That encompasses my life experiences to think that it took guts to so that or confidence to do so and be willing for whatever came from posting them. But bravery can have different meanings to all people based on what they have gone through.

    I don’t think those who called you brave meant harm, but for them it would have been more difficult to put that out there. Just as others would find it brave to blog about abuse or mental health. How you view the world through your own experience determines how you color words.

  4. says

    Katy, I loved this post so much. Often I think about bravery in blogging, and there is a certain amount of it required in baring everything in a very public way. Sometimes I reveal secrets and truths about myself on MM that my closest friends and sweetheart don’t even know, but I
    do it because I know in my heart that if I’m feeling it someone else is too (likely many others). Sharing yourself withou fear is an amazing thing to, and i do believe that it also reinforces self-love. Thank you for sharing your process, I think this is a really powerful post. Xo

  5. says

    What a great conversation you’ve started. I’ll admit it – I thought you were brave for posting those photos :) but I couldn’t figure out why! You looked great in both of them and I think you are right. It’s nice to see a before/after when reviewing something. Keep up the great conversation starters!

    • says

      Janet…

      I am so glad you stopped by and shared the link. I am blown away at your courage — and so appreciative that you have not only survived, but have thrived and passed on the message to others.

    • says

      Darn it … I accidentally posted that too quick.
      I wanted to add a comment about what’s brave or not … I think it’s all relative. Posting pictures is brave to some degree … being a firefighter is brave to a different degree. Just like pain … I almost lost my leg in an accident, so I’ve had pain … yet today when I have a paper cut, it still hurts. I still say ouch. Just because the pain isn’t as severe doesn’t mean it’s not pain. Hope that makes sense.
      So you were brave and D was also right in pointing out that there’s other levels of bravery.

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