Softness is often ascribed as a feminine attribute, and because of this it hasn't always been encouraged in our patriarchal world, but there is strength in softness.
Softness can mean many things. For me, my softness is in my ability to emphasise, allow myself to feel vulnerable, and take care of and embrace my body.
Empathy needs us to be soft as we need to be able to feel, fluidly and without restriction. To be able to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, and to fully explore and appreciate how somebody is feeling, we need to be able to embrace our own softness and emotions. The work of understanding ourselves takes a lot of strength. It can be tiring and scary to take the time to look inwards without distraction and to face the things we don’t like or fear about ourselves. It’s a quiet sort of strength, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.
To empathise, we must also be willing and able to be vulnerable in order to share and communicate this empathy with others. Vulnerability is perhaps our greatest source of strength. To be able to acknowledge your own areas of weakness and vulnerability, and to be able to work with them without shutting them out or overcompensating, takes strength. To be able to sink into your softness and open up to people you care about, or even just open up to yourself, can be difficult and so it takes strength.
The biggest element of finding strength in my softness comes from my body. My body is soft and squishy and yet it is strong. Not only this, I find it takes a lot of strength to embrace this softness.
My squishy tummy and my wobbly thighs, although not tight and defined, house strong powerful muscles. The soft pouch of my tummy protects my strongest organ, capable of creating life, my womb. My body is designed to perfection, not only can it sustain my own wonderful exciting life without giving me too much to worry about, it could one day create and sustain a whole new being. Encased within the softest parts of my body are the strongest parts of my body. While my body may be soft and squishy, and rolls and flows, it is capable of so many amazing things, and just remembering this takes strength. It has taken me a long time and it needs a lot of strength to realise that there is strength in my softness.
It’s an act of rebellion to love your body when our capitalist society wants to profit from our hatred. And that takes strength.
Next time you feel weak or scared or powerless, turn to your softness.
In softness lies our greatest strength.