By: Alyson Nerenberg
I wear a chain with a gold coin on it around my neck. The circular coin says Brave, on it. I wear it to remind myself that I am a warrior. I have been brave many times before in my life and I can be strong again in the future, even if I feel afraid.
I remind myself that I was brave when I went to a rigorous graduate school program for my doctorate even though academics did not come easily to me. I was also brave when I decided to have my third child at almost 40 years old. Hell, I was a warrior with that one! I did not want to live my life with any regrets of what “I should have done”, so I bravely went forward. I was brave when my son had learning differences and I had to advocate for his education. I remind myself that I was brave when I taught my daughters to stand up against injustice, even when it made them feel lonely. I was brave when I chose to stay in my marriage despite hurts and disappointments. I am brave each time I open my heart to a new friendship, or make myself vulnerable to an acquaintance that already knows me. I am brave each time I connect deeply with a patient and share myself.
I am frequently blown away by the courage my patients display each and every single day. Just the fact that they arrive at my office, for the first time, without knowing me at all and trust me with their pain, is actually a huge act of bravery. Especially because so many of them were betrayed by people who were supposed to be there for them no matter what. My patients were often traumatized by parents, partners and friends. The fact that they trust me, the first time that they come in to my office is a huge act of courage and valor. I am often awe-inspired that they let me into their hearts and share the most vulnerable aspects of themselves. I take this trust very seriously and do my best to be worthy of their faith.
We all have moments of self-doubt and fear. The gold pendant that I wear reminds me who I am and what I am capable of overcoming. Being brave is bigger than any obstacle than I will face. It is who I am. I am a risk taker, a warrior and a courageous soul. Join me on our journey as we try our best to be brave as we navigate ourselves through life’s challenges.