To be soft, yielding, gentle, quiet, accepting, open, innocent, trusting….
They’re not qualities we value so much these days.
Our culture seems to value their opposites – tough, strong, critical, resilient, decisive, assertive, cynical and street-wise. It’s the yin and yang, the feminine and masculine at their extremes.
Because of course we can be soft and strong, quiet and assertive, gentle and tough.
Yes indeed. Think of a rose – soft and delicate petals with tough leaves and strong, thorn-laden stems. Nature at its most wondrous.
I feel we’ve forgotten the value of softness.
Softness is love, warmth, praise, compassion, open-mindedness, trust, vulnerability, acceptance, appreciation…
Just think about it, when you’re with your family, is the mood one of softness or hardness? Could there be a softening? Would it feel better? Would it allow more love in?
When I’m quick to assert an opinion, make a judgement, defend myself or speak without really listening, I’m not adding a loving presence. I’m certainly not bonding more closely with the people I love. If anything, I’m holding them at a distance.
If I could just soften a little, slow things down, be more gentle and open:
Would people walk all over me?
Would I lose my way?
Would I be diminished in my effectiveness, my productivity?
Would I count for less?
The archetype of the soft and loving mother has become an anachronism. She disappeared out of fear and shame in the face of a masculine-oriented world. The gentler feminine qualities were subjected to ridicule and derision. It became an insult to be soft. Toughness and boldness became the goal.
The harshness of the world has taken this quality away from us, men and women both.
We’re hard on ourselves. We’re taught to compare and compete against others from a young age. We’re taught it’s a dog eat dog world – you’d better get the prize before your neighbour does.
Try harder, do better next time, don’t let yourself down, toughen up, keep going, don’t give up, don’t be so soft.
You got this!
I want to break it all down and let it go and not just because it doesn’t feel good….also because it doesn’t work.
I don’t do better when I strive harder, are more critical of myself or more uncompromising. It just makes me freeze up and feel panicked. I’ve always been sensitive to stress. When I was a student I had performance-stunting anxiety in exams, became mentally scattered and unfocused under deadline pressure and would end up ill after prolonged periods of emotional strain and busyness.
I do not thrive under pressure.
Does anyone really? I suspect we get addicted to the adrenaline rush and the ego-trip of being so busy we haven’t got time to scratch ourselves. I’m busy and stressed, therefore, I’m important.
Of course having some degree of structure and discipline is essential for getting things done but do we really need to harangue ourselves into feeling a slave to every task, overwhelmed and a failure?
So where does that leave us? I feel we’re starved of self-love and self-compassion. Danielle Laporte raises this point in her new book White Hot Truth…check out some excerpts here.
We’re all trying so hard to be too much to too many people and it hurts.
What if we just softened a little?
I’d love to hear your thoughts….
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