It can be hard to be soft. The world demands so much of you – toughness, togetherness, persistence, resilience. But what does it mean to soften?
Being soft is often equated with being too sensitive, too mushy, too much of a “girl”. Many adults were told (or subconsciously absorb) from an early age that toughness and strength are valued over softness and sensitivity.
So you learned. And you learn still.
You learned how to push through. How to carry and care for others, way before yourself. How to be tough and strong and fearless.
Don’t get me wrong – toughness isn’t a bad thing. The ability to pick yourself up and keep moving forward is an important skill.
Resilience is important in this often difficult world – but so is softness.
If you exist only as a tough, together person then what happens to your core, to your inner self, to your dreams? Too much toughness can harden a person.
Being able to soften is what allows us to breathe, to create, and to dream.
Softness is an essential quality if you want to experience a full range of emotions and connect deeply and intimately – both with others and with yourself.
Softness has several synonyms – tenderness, compassion and kindness come immediately to my mind. There is also outer softness – literal softness of fabric/texture or compassion extended to others. Inner softness is usually harder for most of the women I work with – it’s harder to feel, yes, but also harder still to allow.
Inner softness means letting down your defenses – being vulnerable, sweet, tender. It doesn’t happen all the time and it has to feel safe and comfortable enough.
Think of the last time you felt soft and gentle – Who were you with? What were you doing? Where were you?
I often access a sense of softness for myself through a combination of inner and outer awareness. Most mornings I meditate with my legs covered by a very soft velour blanket and say the word “soften” to myself as I breathe. I remind my body, my muscles, the tension that runs through my heritage to soften – even just a little bit. It’s not an easy thing, and it’s an ongoing practice.
But what I know is this:
Softening starts with permission.
Permission to sit in the sun, to breathe deeply, to tell yourself “I am good enough” – and believe it.
At its core, softness is the ultimate in strength and resilience. Give yourself the permission you deserve.