When I was a kid, I really liked hamburgers. I was weird though, I wouldn't put ketchup or mustard or cheese on them. I would occasionally be down for caramelized onions on them, but I think that was more foodie K coming out more than anything. I never gave burgers that much thought.
When I moved overseas I realized that a lot of people would use a fork and knife for everything. One friend even joked about how Americans are uncivilized in how they eat things like pizza, sandwiches and burgers with their hands. I took this as that's what everyone was thinking, and started getting very nervous at the thought of eating those foods in front of others.
One day, my best friend Fran suggested that we get people to go out to a restaurant called Hudson's that was well known for their burgs and shakes. Seeing that she was my best friend, I assumed that I could confide in her about my burger issue and she would be kind and understanding. WRONG.
She laughed. And laughed. And laughed. And played a joke on me and told the pastoral team that I was struggling with my confidence so badly that I couldn't eat burgers in front of others. The icing on the cake was when the most loving, caring pastoral care member literally sat me down on a couch for a counseling session about my burger issues, not knowing that Fran had mentioned that just to amuse herself and make me uncomfortable.
While my face was red the entire time, what River (the pastoral counselor) said was spot on: it all boils down to pride. It didn't matter what other people's opinions were on my burger eating habits (or anything really). If I liked burgers, I should eat burgers. If I wanted to eat it with my hands and others didn't that was okay. If I wanted to eat it with a fork and knife, that was okay too. For goodness sakes if I wanted to eat it with my face like a dog, while that actually was a little weird, it was still okay.
Like my hamburger dilemma, we oftentimes get so caught up in and stressed about doing things the "right way" that we forget to even do the things we like at all. Some people might have a great way of doing something that you like, and by all means copy it if that's your choice. However, if you find a way that works better for you -- do it! Bravery doesn't always have to do with blazing a trail of something completely new, sometimes it is just a twist on the normalcy we get ourselves stuck in.