How to stay soft in a world that often demands the opposite of us

Our world tells us we need to be strong, ambitious, forward going, striving to become something, make our mark and make it happen.

Intrinsic human qualities are being overlooked and diminished: listening, nurturing, holding space, sharing and coming together. There’s so much emphasis on “doing” that we often forget the value of just being.

Even in the field of mindfulness it’s increasingly being used and taught as a tool to become more focused, to get more done.

I know I’m not the only one who notices how our world is dominated by values we generally label as male, and that it’s too one-sided. We need to embrace it all; the yang and the yin to find balance, to become whole, to change our world and to create a better relationship with ourselves, each other and the earth.

It all starts with realizing that collectively as a species we’re standing on just one leg.

As meditation teacher Tara Brach puts it:
“In the Chinese script the character for the word mindfulness is present heart. What I love about that, and my problem with the word mindfulness, sometimes, in the west, is that it doesn’t always include the quality of the awake heart. But you really can’t separate the realizations of the mind that everything is interconnected and the heart’s experience of warmth and openness and tenderness that correlates with that realization – you can’t separate them. And it’s often described metaphorically as this bird with two wings and it’s the wing of mindfulness and the wing of heartfulness, and to fly we have to have both.”

We need to recalibrate our focus so we don’t stay in one extreme and pull everything in that direction. I fall into this myself, working hard to succeed as a mindfulness coach; sometimes putting my business ahead of everything else. Overdoing. When I realize that, I often have to smile at the irony of it. But one thing I’ve learned in the last year is to separate my self-worth from my accomplishments. This is a big one! I think we internalize the overvaluing of doing which leads us to believe that only by ticking off external goals are we worthy humans.

I’ve had people tell me lately how they feel the world doesn’t seem to want what they offer, how they’ve struggled with being ‘too’ sensitive and having a soft heart.

What if I told you that you are part of a much-needed radical change in this world? We’re all unique beautiful human beings containing everything. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and most of all don’t tell yourself otherwise. You are exactly what the world needs. Soft raw human being you give the bird wings to fly again.

Some practices to help you stay soft:

  • Place one hand on your heart, the other on your belly. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and be with yourself just as you are in this exact moment.
  • Reach out to someone you know and share about your life, dreams, thoughts and how you feel from an open, honest space. You’ll see how it connects us deeper.
  • Spend time in nature – connect to your senses and your surroundings.
  • Express yourself in whichever way you enjoy: dancing, singing, drawing, moving, writing, cooking, coding, playing…
  • Play with kids, they are masters at being present, vulnerable and open.
  • Laugh more. Laughter is so opening and healing.
  • Cry when you’re sad. Crying allows your emotions to move through you and be released. Emotions are energy in motion and as we grow older we’re taught to increasingly control and hold in our emotions. The body stores them and we get accustomed to tensing and building up guards.

I’d love to hear if this resonates with you. Let me know in the comments below.

Luise is a somatic mindfulness coach helping women who struggle with feeling not enough who want to find peace, joy and express themselves freely. After living in Thailand for five years, spending more than 4,000 hours immersed in mind and body practices, she now resides in Europe. She co-facilitates an online Women’s Circle, The Stillness & Sensuality Women’s Retreat in Spain, and guides meditation helping people tune in to themselves. You can connect with her on her website, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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