I ask kids ALL THE TIME to be brave – to take a chance, to not know for sure how something will go, or end, and do it anyhow. I ask them to do something new, to feel worried – or scared – on purpose. I routinely ask these sorts of things from kids, because we know exposure therapy is effective, imperative even, in the treatment of childhood anxiety. Little did I know that coaching and encouraging kids in this way would make me more daring, more brave. I ask them to do this hard work, and they show me, time after time, what bravery looks like. They motivate me to face fears, do new things, do them differently, and be okay with not knowing. These kids have taught me a lot about being brave.
Why be brave? We learn a lot by doing things differently (i.e. being brave when worried vs. avoiding). We can challenge unhelpful or unrealistic beliefs, we get to push back against self-imposed limits and test our predictions.