We live in a society where softness or "being soft" is often seen as weakness. A wounded culture and society has led to men being unable or fearful of being identified as being soft, kind, and gentle. The word soft itself has attracted a really bad wrap despite it being a positive personality trait.
When have you ever heard the word “soft” being used as a term of endearment when describing a young boy or a grown man? Soft is often interpreted as weak.
As a society, we need to reframe what it means to be soft.
In the workplace, we use the term soft skills to describe the invaluable skills that make an individual an effective employee/employer. These skills include communication, leadership, teamwork, problem solving, interpersonal skills, and creativity among many others. These are the skills that allow an individual to exhibit true strength.
Being a physiotherapist, I want to see softness and suppleness in the muscles and joints. We want to ideally have flexible and mobile bodies, which require a softness to them. A soft supple body is flexible which consequently leads to productive strength when needed.
Softness in body, in movement, and in mind allows for peak performance. As the great Bruce Lee said "Be water my friend".
When it comes to pain, softness is an attribute that isn’t highlighted but is in the essence of someone’s ability to overcome hurt. When approaching pain, it is crucial to come with softness. Hardness and resistance will not get far in the face of pain. Pain bounces back with increased vigour when faced with a hard response.
Softness in the face of pain allows for pain to land gently. I’m referring to the softness of allowing pain to enter into your body, mind, and spirit while responding with kindness and compassion. Your pain is yours to understand and befriend. Softening the resistance of pain is key to allow pain to move through us.
Softness is opening yourself up to the possibility of being hurt because in that pain we will awaken the seeds of true strength and power. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, allowing for the possibility of pain is the only way to truly walk the path of self healing and growth.
We grow from the softness of newly sowed soil, not from hard barren land.
Imagine living in a world where all children are taught from a young age to have the “soft” qualities. Vulnerability, kindness, compassion, gentleness, generosity, and openness to name a few. Our ability as a human race to grow and heal depends on our capacity to soften and open up to pain, trauma, and wounds.
Push past the discomfort and allow yourself to soften, especially to those you love. Express your feelings and emotions, your fears and worries, your pain and trauma.
Your capacity to be soft and vulnerable will start to flow onto all the people around you. If we all showed up as our beautiful, vulnerable selves, we will show the next generation that it is ok to show up fully. It is through opening up and sharing our pain that we can begin to heal as a society.
Sharing your pain may help another going through that same pain deal with their pain that little bit better. Pain is universal, we all feel it, we all learn from it. Start helping your fellow human beings. Start to soften to life.
With love and gratitude,