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  • Sandi Marshall

Why it's brave not to dare

Have you ever played ‘truth or dare’? Have you ever dared a friend to do something, or had someone dare you? Most of us have at some point. Usually whatever we’re dared to do is a bit gross or unpleasant. That’s part of the challenge. But when should you draw the line?


Challenging ourselves to do stuff that’s outside our comfort zones can be really powerful. I’m petrified of heights, so it was a big deal for me to complete a zip-wire challenge when I was 10 years-old. I remember the first time I tried to step off the zip-wire platform, and ended up climbing down the ladder in humiliation, in front of all my classmates. The following year, I was determined to do it. I climbed up, shut my eyes and stepped off. It was one of my proudest moments, not least because my teacher said that I was the bravest in the class. It’s so much easier to do things when they don’t frighten you.

The important thing here is that it was my decision. I wanted to do the zip-wire. I also knew that it was really safe. The activity was run by professionals who had all the right safety gear.

Taking risks and challenging ourselves in safe ways like this can be really positive, but there are many times when taking risks isn’t such a smart idea. Doing a dare that’s illegal or dangerous isn’t brave. It’s daft. And if you’re doing it because somebody’s told you to, but you don’t want to, the braver option is definitely to say ‘no’. It’s brave to stand up to people and risk disappointing people or being unpopular. This is why we often don’t, and how we end up doing things we don’t want to do.

So if you’re ever in that position, challenge yourself to do the brave thing, and say ‘no’. If you’re uncomfortable, trust that feeling, and try challenging yourself not to do it. Then be proud of yourself for being true to you, which is often the more difficult (but the much better) option. The thing to remember is that friends who put you in danger, or put pressure on you to things you don’t want to do, are friends you can live without - much happier. This is true whether they are face-to-face friends, online friends, or people that you are in a relationship with.

If you’re ever in that position and need support, speak to someone you trust. You can talk to someone at Visyon by calling 01260 290000.

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