is hard. the paradox trap.
From when we are young, we get taught to be strong, tough, push through, make an impact, toughen up… so that when we hit the midlife, we get told to be soft, gentle, mindful and caring.
I’ll be honest, that messes with my head in many ways.
They teach us discipline and control from the early age, making sure that we got our shit together right from the start, throughout - school, university, work. Running like a well-oiled machine with as little maintenance as possible is what we want, of course.
Then we hit the twenties and nothing major maybe the wheels come off a little and we have to replace a few parts, but nothing that can't be quick fixed.
But life doesn't stop in the twenties and as we push all buff and tough into the thirties we break down.
That well-oiled and functioning machine needs some serious attention, change of tires, wash and polish wont quite cut it anymore.
There is that inner voice.
So quiet for many years - letting you run like a boss with the big pants on and now it shows you the middle finger and starts crying. Goodness me, now what?
Do I seriously have to stop and hug the child in me? But there is no time, I'm busy, people need me, my work needs me, my family needs me, and I need my inner warrior back please….
You might be reading this thinking, actually I have never had a problem being soft, others might be reading this thinking WTF why must I be soft?
The days where keeping a good balance was mainly about physical exercise are long gone, today the word balance is in the top three on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
It’s all about being balanced, you fight you forgive, move and sleep, socialize and solitude, give take, speak listen and you gotta be soft and strong.
I don't need to give you an example, do I? Like with a scale and one side is heavier. You get it.
But this post is not about balance, even though it is literally THE answer to many lifestyle questions, right now we want to explore the soft and strong challenge a little more.
You learned to be strong, now you have to learn to be soft.
And let me tell you, besides me trying to learn how to walk on my hands and teach my cats to bring me coffee - learning to be soft is next level challenging.
What does it mean to be soft though?
Think about a little girl or boy, in my case it’s a little girl, we all got one of them inside us - our soul.
We all know what to do with a real-world child, we would hug them when they cry and feed them when they hungry, we would also care for them when they are sick and protect them when they got hurt.
Now, when you feel sad and there are those waves of wanting to cry, hibernate and be depressed what are you doing?
Are you allowing yourself to be sad? Or are you telling yourself to man up and push through?
If you think this is BS, well you clearly haven't managed to connect to your soft side.
There is that little child crying inside you and it wants attention, love and because we have been taught to be strong throughout our lives what we actually do is tell the little child to shut up and get going.
What do you think happens over years of shutting your child up? Yeah don't need to be a genius to figure that one out.
I personally have always been teaching myself to be strong and controlled. Rolling like “I can do this by myself, I don't need anyone, I've got no time to cry”.
But it is important and necessary to cry, to be soft and to listen to what your soul needs - sooner or later you will hit rock bottom and the constant pushing left you with no power to push anymore.
And you know what? It is ok to be vulnerable and let your guard down - it is part of you and even though right now you might find it easier to act all strong, it'll get you, eventually and the longer you wait the harder the fall.
Radically speaking, learning to be soft is generally not inclusive of a soft landing.
Falling hurts. it wakes you up. Bruised, but… it gives you the opportunity to hug your inner child, care for it and listen to it.
Then you should grab it by its hand, hold on tight and don't let go. It’s part of you and as much as you want to be strong, there lies beauty in being unconditionally real and soft from time to time.
Balance, you know what I'm talking about.
PS. if you want to connect with yourself, you gotta spend time with yourself - otherwise its tough to listen.