Honestly, if you were ever looking for a life motto, this would be it. Nearly every situation you can think of can come back to this mantra, used so adeptly in Disney's newest reboot of "Cinderella". At the end of the day, life boils down to two simple rules. Have courage, and be kind. This could apply to going after that job you want, taking that trip you've only ever dreamed about or finally telling someone how you really feel about them. But, even on the most basic level, it takes courage to just be you. Maybe you are stuck in a job that is draining you of your drive and creativity. Maybe you are settling for a relationship with someone because things are "good enough"...
Listen, until you are happy and truly fulfilled, nothing is ever enough.
Throughout my life, I've had some pretty lofty goals. As a child, I wanted to be everything from a zoo keeper to an Olympic figure skater. Did it matter that I'd never been on the ice at all? Absolutely not. Because 7-year-old Brooke had an insane amount of courage, but the disadvantage of... well, having the autonomy afforded to a 7-year-old. At age 8, I finally found the perfect balance for my life. In the spring and summer, I would star on Broadway, and in the fall and winter, I would coach college football (the Alabama Crimson Tide, to be specific). Spoiler alert: I am neither of those things. Though my dreams are slightly different today than they were 20 years ago, I just wish I had some of the same moxie as that little girl who would give live (and unsolicited) concerts in the middle of Winn Dixie. But, as it does, life goes on and as we get older, it gets harder and harder to put ourselves out there. We start to convince ourselves that it's better to not make waves or draw attention to ourselves. After all, when you are flying under the radar, it's much harder for people to see you fail. But I have learned something in the last few years. Courage is a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Take chances. Even if it's just a small step, every day it will get easier! When a life-changing opportunity comes along, you will be ready to jump because you will have been conditioned to do so.
So often kindness is confused with weakness, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It takes strength to be kind to others, especially when it would be easier to keep to yourself or to let your anger get the best of you. Sometimes, kindness actually takes a bit of courage. Imagine mustering up even a shred of benevolence for your horrible step mother and step sisters who do nothing but belittle and degrade you day in and day out, year after year? Cindy did it every day. But, she was always gracious because, at the end of the day, kindness is something you do not only for others, but also for yourself. You are the one who has to look in the mirror and actually like the person you see. There are sad and insecure people in this world who will stop at nothing to pull you down to their level just so you can be as miserable as they are. The surest way to avoid that terrible fate is to show them the kindness they so desperately need. Suffering is often disguised as hatred, but compassion can do so much healing. Will they always respond well? That doesn't matter. The only person we can control is ourselves, and if we know that we handled a situation as gracefully as possible, that's all we can really do.
So, I propose a new workout routine. Exercise kindness and courage every day to get rid of unwanted bitterness and despair and to strengthen the moxie muscles. Think of it as a Good Will Wod, or whatever it is that you cross fitters do. And the best part? It won't even interfere with leg day, so no excuses!