The Duality of Being Soft and Strong
Updated: Jan 27, 2022
So. I have found in many of my conversations with other women in the past few months, that there is quite often a similar theme. That theme is something along the lines of “I am tired of always being strong. I just want to be able to be soft”. I have always connected with this statement. Why? Because the life that I have requires me to be strong, often leaving me to feel that I don’t have the space or right to be soft. But, after some recent reflection, I realize that what we are verbalizing is wrong. Let me elaborate.
You see as women, we have a natural desire to be soft. We have a desire to be able to stand in our full feminine energy and be delicate and vulnerable and cared for. But, for so many women, the responsibility to take care of so many things around us holds us in a space where we are required to be strong because there is no other choice. For whatever reason, the concept of strength has often been equated to masculine energy. This leaves those same women in a thought space that in order to be strong, we have to stand more in that masculine energy than our feminine energy. Therefore, we can’t have the duality of softness and strength. I call crap!
Let’s define these words, shall we! I looked up the definitions of ‘soft’ and ‘strength’ via Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. While there were quite a few definitions that I would deem sexist (insert eye roll), I will share the ones that speak to the point. They are as follows:
Soft: (adjective) pleasing or agreeable to the senses; bringing ease, comfort, quiet; marked by a gentleness, kindness, or tenderness
Strong: (adjective) Having moral or intellectual power; effective or efficient especially in a specified direction; not easily broken
Well! Just defining those terms was a moment for me. How about you? You see, we have learned to consider these two concepts mutually exclusive (girl, what does that mean??…..simply that they cannot exist at the same time). But, the reality of it is that there is no reason that these two characteristics cannot exist within the same space. There is absolutely no reason that a strong woman cannot have the space to also be soft!
Have you ever harvested sunflowers or visited a sunflower field? Well, I finally realized that building my love of sunflowers has a big part to do with their ability to possess both of these characteristics in the same space and time. If you have seen sunflowers in their natural habitat, you would know that many of them grow extremely tall and have to withstand very harsh weather conditions. The reason they are able to continue standing tall is because their stalks are so strong. They have some of the thickest flower stalks that I have ever seen and they are, you guessed it, not easily broken. But, when you begin to take a look at the heads or bulbs, they are actually quite delicate and very pleasing to look at. They are, yes, that’s correct….soft. So, the sunflower, for me, represents the duality that I and many other women so yearn to possess. The gift of being soft and strong at the same time! If a flower can have this, then what is stopping us??
When we say that we are “tired of being strong” and “just want to be able to be soft”, I think we are saying it wrong and, therefore, believing it wrong. I think what we really intend to say is that “I am tired of carrying it all and want someone to take care of me, for once”. This moment right here is where I need you to understand something. YOU ARE THE PERSON WHO CAN TAKE CARE OF YOU! That’s right! That’s what I said! You have to be willing to allow yourself to be soft for yourself. How? Self-care! Through true self-care practices, you can create space in your daily life where you are able to just be soft. It doesn’t mean that you have given up on your strength. It just means that you have learned to make space for your feminine energy to be explored and to coexist with your strength. And when you hold the space to refill and keep your own cup full, you also create the space to renew your strength. Isn't that something?
My hope for every woman out there is that we unlearn the requirement to be hard or masculine, so that we can be considered strong. I hope that we learn to understand how much strength there is in the softness that we naturally possess. I hope that we learn to stand wholly in the duality of soft and strong. I hope that we learn to make and hold space for us to be taken care of and to own our feminine energy!
Light and Love....