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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 of us are told (or subconsciously absorb) from an early age to stop crying and put on a brave face.

So we learn.

We learn how to push through. We learn how to carry and care for others, way before ourselves. We learn how to be tough and strong and fearless.

Don’t get me wrong – we need to be all those things. We need to have the capacity to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward.

Resilience is important in this world – but so is softness.

If you exist only as a tough, together person 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 we want to experience a full range of emotions and connect deeply and intimately – both with others and with ourselves.

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 we extend to others in our lives. Inner softness is usually harder for most of the women I work with – it’s harder to feel, yes, but also harder to give ourselves permission to experience.

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.

As a driven, focused person – I first got a planner in middle school and started looking at colleges in 10th grade – softening has to be an intentional, mindful, loving practice – it just won’t happen by itself.

Think of the last time you felt soft and gentle? Who were you with? What were you doing? Where were you?

Give yourself permission to explore the experience of both inner and outer softness – and the combination of the two. Maybe that means sitting in the sun, or breathing deeply, or telling yourself “I am good enough” – and believing it.

Knowing we can treat ourselves with softness and compassion can fill in a lot of empty spaces.

At its core, softness is the ultimate in strength and resilience.

If softness is a hard thing for you to access and embody, I would love to speak with you about how I can help. I look forward to hearing from you soon!