Even Brave Girls Get Scared

Dear Hadley,

You have heard me tell you many times that it requires 3 things to be a princess: a princess must be brave, a princess must be smart, and a princess must be strong. I want to make sure you understand that ANYONE can be a princess based on how she acts and thinks. But, I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of explaining what the word “brave” means because tonight, when I asked you if you were scared of the dark, you told me “Brave girls don’t get scared.” Baby, brave girls absolutely do get scared. In fact, it’s having to face a fear that makes someone brave. Without being scared, you never have a chance to discover your courage.

Think about Belle. The Beast looked so huge and scary and had a very mean sounding growl. He could have eaten Belle for dinner. Of course Belle was scared, but she was able to go beyond her fear and see into the Beast’s heart. She knew that deep down, he was a good person and she chose to be kind and loving despite the fact that the Beast looked different.  You show this same kind of bravery every time you play with a child that looks different from you. You are courageous every time you forgive a child that has been mean to you. There are so many grown-ups that aren’t brave enough to do this. You are so brave.

What about Anna? She had just seen Elsa freeze her entire village. Most people would run the other way. But, Anna knew that the right thing to do was to help her sister and to save her town. So, she followed her heart. Following your heart is such a scary thing, especially when everyone else is telling you something different. It takes real trust in yourself and an ability to look other people in the eye and say, “Thank you for your input but I’m going to do it my way.” You do this every time you tell your friends “No” when they are trying to get you to do something that you know is wrong. You are brave every time you stand up for yourself or for a friend that needs help. You are a princess.

I also don’t want you to think that fear is a bad thing. Being afraid is one of those instincts we are born with. Fear comes from that part of our brain that tells us to “RUN!” if a tiger is coming after us. Fear is what can sometimes save our lives, or at least save us from getting into trouble or doing something too stupid. But, this part of our brain can’t tell a real fear from an imaginary one. That part is up for you to decide- if it’s a real fear, RUN! or STAY! or do whatever it is that your animal instinct is telling you to do. But, if it’s just an imaginary fear like worrying you will forget all the steps to your ballet recital, politely tell the fear, “Thank you very much for your input. I’m going to listen to my heart for this one. Would you mind sitting over here for awhile until you are needed again? OK? Thanks.” Fear is a necessary part of you, so don’t ever try to fight with it. I think that just makes the fear grow bigger. The key to being brave is to look that fear in the eye, appreciate it, and then set it aside until necessary.IMG_0810

Want to know a secret? I see you being extremely brave every single day. You do the bravest thing that any of us are asked to do- you keep your heart wide open. All of the time. Most of us begin to close our hearts every time the fear wins. When I say fear here, I mean the fake kind, the kind that tells us that we’re not good enough or that we need to be scared of someone that looks different from us. Or believes different from us. People lose to this fear every single day. Keeping your heart open and sharing your joy with others is the bravest thing that you can ever do.

I am so proud of you. You are the bravest person that I know. You not only try new, scary things every day, but you do it with a wide open heart and joy that shines for miles. And, if you want to sleep with the light on for a little while, it’s totally okay with me.