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  • Writer's pictureIngrid Ollquist

Softness, The Antithesis Of Fear

In our world, there’s a deeply ingrained inclination to lay foundations on unshakable ground or simply put, solid ground. “Solid” typically makes us think of something firm, tough, and unwavering. However, diving deeper into this inclination, something intriguing emerges. It’s almost as if, unknowingly, we humans have absorbed this subtle principle into our very essence.

I’m not referring to the technicalities of engineering blueprints, but more metaphorically.

It’s as though this idea has seeped into our approach to navigating life’s intricate journey and our personal growth, all filtered through the lens of the unique experiences we undergo.

Now, when life hurls those unforeseen challenges our way, we’re wired to respond head-on and strive to heal in the aftermath. But as I delve into the art of healing, I’m picking up on an interesting trend in myself. I’m recognizing how I often lean towards a more rigid stance during this process. This natural hardening seems to develop almost unconsciously, like an automatic defense mechanism kicking in. If you’re anything like me — and I assume many of you are — you’ve encountered your fair share of tough moments that have left you even more resilient in the end.

However, as we navigate the path of healing after these tough times, we often instinctively raise emotional barriers or put on suits of armor. This internal safeguarding is our way of feeling secure against potential future pain. Think about heartbreak, loss, confronting illness, maneuvering through financial uncertainty, grappling with self-doubt, and perhaps even battling addiction. Each of these encounters leaves its mark, shaping who we are over time. And with the passage of time, this process of hardening becomes somewhat inevitable.

As I age, I find myself engaging in deeper introspection, gaining a more profound understanding of my personal journey and the changes it has wrought.

What strikes me now is that my very core, my essence, might be anchored in something a bit too inflexible. It’s like I’ve rooted myself so deeply that there’s limited space left for expansion. This rock-solid base has witnessed my evolution, yet I can’t help but wonder if, as I continue to grow, this unwavering foundation might start showing signs of strain or even start cracking. The reason? I put all my focus on being resilient that I have overshadowed the significance of adaptability, flexibility, and softness.

I understand when it comes to building actual structures, an unwavering foundation is undoubtedly important. However, for our personal growth, I believe that our foundation should allow for a degree of flexibility, a touch of softness. It’s like giving our future selves the blueprint of freedom, to be able to stretch and breathe.

I’ve naturally grown inclined towards embracing resilience in the face of challenges. This inclination has woven a sort of pattern within me — confronting difficulties with upfront strength, followed by a later return to nurturing myself with gentleness. It’s like I’ve absorbed the notion that immediate toughness is the essential ingredient for overcoming adversity, frequently setting aside self-compassion until the trial subsides. This approach has inadvertently triggered an early calcification process. It becomes challenging to introduce softness into a space that’s already solidified. I’m beginning to recognize the damage this has caused in my personal healing journey and how this has created a “too solid” foundation.

So, moving forward, I’m immersing myself in the pursuit of balance — finding a way to protect and mend without inadvertently becoming rigid and closed off. My aim is to blend strength with gentleness, fundamentally reshaping and broadening the very concept of strength. You know, when we label someone as “solid,” it often implies steadfastness, security, and unchanging constancy — like an unwavering presence. Yet, the more I ponder this, the less it seems aligned with genuine strength. It’s almost like being trapped instead of embodying authentic resilience.

To me, genuine strength emanates from fully embracing and inhabiting the realm of softness. And a significant part of this softness involves extending self-compassion to ourselves. It’s about affirming, “I accept and love myself exactly as I am, even without having everything figured out.” It entails recognizing that instant solutions aren’t always necessary; sometimes, just being present in the moment guides us toward healing.

The concept of radical self-compassion deeply intrigues me — boldly claiming our space and wholeheartedly embracing life without being hindered by fear. Making the conscious choice to face life’s challenges with a lot of love is truly empowering.

As I journey through the realms of embracing softness and self-compassion, a revelation is slowly dawning on me. It’s not about striving for a definitive destination or rushing to uncover all the answers. Instead, it’s about acknowledging that the gradual rhythm of gentleness, those serene moments of self-compassion, hold the true power to heal us right in the present.

For me, softness stands as the antithesis of fear. When we fully embrace softness, we’re essentially embracing trust. It’s like leaning into the intricate complexity of life’s twists and turns. And within this embrace, we gradually release the grip of fear that compels us to control everything in it. We have accepted that we are not meant to build off solid ground, but instead a ground that moves and compliments the many shapes we take in this life.

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