I started Braver Than Before just over one month ago and it has been an absolutely amazing journey! Since my first post, braverthanbefore.com has been viewed over 6500 times by people in 50 countries around the globe! I am utterly humbled and so deeply honoured by these statistics. When I started out on this venture, I really only knew two things:
- I needed to be journaling daily through my recovery from anxiety and fear. Writing has always been how I process life best, and it was an essential component of my recovery from an eating disorder over nine years ago. If it worked for me then, it through it just might work again now!
- I wanted to do this in a public format for the purpose of accountability, to create mental health awareness, as well as to encourage others as they navigate their own personal struggles.
With these two goals in mind, I had no idea what to expect—from myself or from others! I certainly didn’t imagine generating such a vast readership so quickly, nor did I anticipate the steady stream of support I would receive from both personal friends and bloggers around the world. Every day I receive some kind of positive feedback on one of my posts and, to my amazement, Braver Than Before has even become a daily staple for some readers. What an honor!
Over the course of this past month, I have been growing in my understanding of what Braver Than Before is, and the purpose it serves for both myself and others. As I look around at the world we live in, I can identify a few key needs that I have been aiming to address through my blog. These needs are:
A need for openness and vulnerability.
People have often applauded me for my willingness to share so openly and honestly about my battle with mental health. There is a stigma around mental illness, and many people find it very difficult to open up about their personal struggles. But I don’t believe that genuine healing is really possible without openness and vulnerability. If we want to see a change in the current mental health statistics that are plaguing our world, then we are going to need to get a lot more open and vulnerable with each other. I hope that Braver Than Before can help catalyze this change, even if only for a few.
A need for diverse community.
I personally feel that community is an essential element of mental health recovery, and of life in general. We are not built to go through life alone, and when we try, we only find ourselves sinking deeper and deeper into despair and isolation. One thing that I have realized throughout the first month of my blogging journey is simply how widespread the issue of mental health is, and how one person opening up about it can unite so many. And I am not just talking about birds of a feather flocking together here, I am talking about people from a vast variety of different walks of life. While I am a white North American woman and a person of faith, I want people from any nationality and all backgrounds to feel like they can come to braverthanbefore.com and find a community that loves them, respects them, and is cheering them on in their own journey.
A need for relevant content that motivates personal growth.
People love reading material that they can relate to. And because mental health is such a prevalent issue in our culture, so many people feel that they can identify with content that is centered around the very same struggles that they are facing in their every day lives. For me, it has always been important that at I maintain 100% authenticity through my blog as much as possible. I try to be completely raw and honest with my posts—on the good days and the bad. But I am also passionate about promoting hope and personal growth to my readers, regardless of where I may find myself on the spectrum on any given day.
I am coming at my own mental health journey from an angle that is committed to complete recovery. I believe that it is possible to totally overcome these struggles and learn how to function in life without the weight of them constantly on my shoulders. I have overcome an eating disorder in the past, and I believe that I can overcome this too. Regardless of what goes on in my day to day circumstances, I believe that hope is real, and I am going to continue to present that view to the world around me. I don’t just want readers coming here and relating to my struggles. I want them to leave here with at least a tiny spark of inspiration that life change is possible.
To any other mental health bloggers out there who may be reading this, I want to encourage you to do the same! Talk openly about your struggles, and process your mess with the rest of us, but don’t forget to cling to hope. And don’t forget to share that hope with the world!
Finally, I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you who have become a part of the Braver Than Before community and who have made this first month of the journey such a beautiful experience for me! I cherish each and every one of you, and hope that together we can continue to find freedom in our daily lives. So let’s carry on together, always pushing one another to be open and vulnerable, to develop diverse community, and to pursue personal growth. And hopefully, through this process, we will find that we have become braver than before.
Has Braver Than Before impacted you? If you have been enjoying this blog, please comment below and let me know how being a part of the Braver Than Before community has promoted growth in your own life!