Being brave creates a ripple effect that can change the course of many lives. And, it begins by being KIND enough to meet ourselves where we are in our life journey, says Canadian police officer and Brave Inspires Brave founder Heather McWilliam.
Being KIND also elevates us to a higher consciousness of compassion to meet others where they are, says Heather. Even when we don’t have all the pieces to understand what obstacles they may be currently facing.
For Heather, her drive to promote activism and KINDness came from a place within herself to ignite the light to serve her highest purpose of inspiring others to brave their best life. She says this is about fully stepping into our voices, especially through adversity and fear.
In her case, this meant standing up to a police system that had failed to respect her rights of safety from sexual harassment and assault. As she was told it would be impossible to win her court case, she chose to bravely walk into the darkness to shed light on this grave injustice.
Her court case went on to become a Landmark Human Rights case that brought forward awareness in police culture, women’s rights, disability rights and police corruption throughout Canada.
Heather says that for her the ripple effect of being brave had an impact far greater than she ever could have imagined. She has witnessed how her bravery has inspired so many others to bravely serve their own truths as they choose KINDness to themselves by honoring them.
Today, Heather’s organization, Brave Inspires Brave, advocates for women’s rights, disability rights, mental health, and human rights as it relates to the effects of police harm within police organizations and communities through its partnerships with experts in law and policing, oversight bodies, investigators, researchers, mental health experts in trauma and PTSD, gender specialists, empowerment coaches, military survivors and leaders, health and wellness coaches, and many others.
However, this journey was not an easy one for Heather. Even after fleeing from her home in Ontario, she continued to be threatened, stalked and hacked. A community sworn to protect and defend made her feel afraid, abused, and betrayed.
Today, she works to heal from C-PTSD and other mental health injuries.
Heather believes that survivors of trauma are especially resilient, their experiences are valuable, and together they are stronger.
“I didn’t want to live in fear and be ashamed of my mental health injury, so I treated it with the mindset of an athlete,” says Heather. “I realized I needed to train my mind and body to overcome the trauma.”
In doing so, she realized that she needed to be KIND to herself, as healing became her new full-time job during her temporary leave of absence. But Heather says she needed these lessons to continue to serve and protect others through her injury.
"I am not my injury,” she says. “I am not what happened to me. But I am the hero I need to be to survive and thrive, and with that I am able to love myself more than I ever could have imagined. I strive to always see the beauty in all of us. Our weaknesses can become our superpowers if we learn to master them.”
Choosing to be KIND to yourself, by rising above it all is worth the fight when it allows you to find yourself, says Heather. She now sees the world as a journey to learn necessary lessons for us all to become our highest selves.
“Through the darkness, we must continue to reach for the stars,” she says. “To brave our best, to choose love over fear, and to tune in to allow for all that our purpose is calling of us.”
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