Developing the ability to be soft and strong is truly an art. It is a gift, a talent, and a superpower. However, it takes a little longer for others to accept and understand because it is so different. People have a hard time comprehending that someone can be two seemingly opposite things at the same time. As humans, we are inclined to place people in either one category or another. We have what one of my favorite authors, Jen Sincero, likes to call the “either-or syndrome”. Soft or strong, good or bad, creative or responsible, the list goes on.
I want to start with elaborating on what I actually mean by soft and strong in the first place.
By soft, I do not mean weak. I am not referring to being a pushover or a doormat. What I mean is loving, compassionate, considerate and supportive. The challenge is, that most people associate having a big heart and being kind with not having boundaries, or at the least, not upholding them.
By strong, I do not mean vicious. I am not referring to hurting others or being vindictive. The sad thing is that most people associate being a strong and successful person with being uncaring, cold or insensitive. They see healthy boundaries as rejection or a threat.
This state of confusion holds many people in an endless loop of having to choose between co-dependent relationships or complete emotional detachment. In reality, neither of these dynamics serve us or the people in our lives.
So how do you master the art of being soft and strong? As always, it comes down to balance. To be a good parent, you have to know when to offer support and when to offer accountability. A good leader knows how to focus on people’s strengths at the same time as helping them grow in their areas of weakness. Being soft and strong allows you to be kind, loving, supportive, compassionate, fierce, loyal, committed, inviting, successful, and decisive all at the same time. As with everything in life some things come naturally to some people. But for everything else, as Don Miguel Ruiz says,
“Practice makes the master.”
If you want to learn the art of being soft and strong, first give yourself permission. Remind yourself that you cannot be everything to everyone, and allow yourself the space to let go of attaching to one role or another. You don’t have to be either a kind person or a strong person. You can be both. You already are both. All you have to do is allow both parts of you to shine through at the same time and accept both completely.
Written by Holly Kellums
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