There is a popular belief out in the world that the louder we are, the more noticeable and important we become. I believe the opposite is true. The more we embrace our softer side, the easier it becomes to connect with who we are and express ourselves from an authentic place. Showing up in the world as your true self is a noteworthy act that will be noticed in a different way.
When we step outside of the incessant need to be heard, the voices urging us to be bolder, brighter and better begin to fade. Those voices are instead replaced with a quieter knowing and contentedness in being in touch with who you are at your core. I have come to notice that it is within quiet gentle space where love resides, where peace can be accessed and where next steps to living a purposeful life are often revealed. Inside the quiet brilliance is where you connect to yourself, your true self.
It becomes more natural to go to the place within us for validation, when we surrender to a softer approach of expressing the essence of who we are, or the work we are here to do. This internal place allows us to honor ourselves whenever we feel the need, it never wavers.
Adopting a softer way of being in everyday life is a gift you get to give to yourself. These are a few practices that help me embrace my softer side. Try them on and see if they may be a right fit for where you are in your life.
1) Be Gentle
Life can be extremely noisy and chaotic, but it doesn't have to be. It can become quiet and still and peaceful if we allow. It is not always easy to try on a new way of being. It can be daunting and overwhelming to know where to begin. One way I practice a more gentle approach to life, is to 'be gentle'. When I focus for a day, an hour or even a moment on speaking in a quieter and gentler tone, it has a ripple effect. When I practice being gentler in my reactions to things, I feel more connected to who I truly am. There are other physical ways to practice gentleness. You can concentrate on making as little noise as possible in your steps. Another gentle way of being, is to practice what it is like to hold space for others while they express who they are. While you hold this quiet space, focus on the other person, their words, their essence, and release the need to interject or have your voice and opinion be heard... just hold space.
2) Be Curious
Approaching our lives and the world around us with a curious lens, has a gentle tone to it. When we are curious, we are genuinely thirsty to learn more about something or someone else. There is no room for judgement in curiosity. When we approach life with a desire to expand our horizons or open our eyes to the diversity around us, life has a way of remaining peaceful. If on the other hand, we are closed-off and not open to understanding a way that is different than our own, we generally show up defensive and guarded. This is where the need to shout and be heard often comes from, it is fear of differences and fear of not being understood.
One way I practice being curious, is to commit to refrain from reacting (or exploding) for a period of time, it might be a day, an hour or perhaps for the duration of a difficult conversation. Instead, during these times I practice seeing the situations or people before me through a lens that wishes to learn more about life from a point of view different than my own. Having lighthearted interactions with others, definitely contributes to seeing and experiencing the value in surrendering to a softer way of being.
3) Be Kind
We all have the power to be kind in our thoughts, words and actions toward others and toward ourselves. There is always a way to be kind, it is a choice we make. Kindness doesn't always feel like a natural place to go, especially when we feel hurt or believe the story we have been wronged by others. But, we make a choice every time we decide to engage from a place that is kind or unkind. We create a deeper connection with ourselves and others through kindness. We create disconnection with ourselves and others through mean-spiritedness. When viewing the choice to be kind in this light, it makes sense to choose the road paved with kindness - it feels good!
I have always found it takes way more energy and focus to be mean or spiteful towards others. Being kind is always the gentler, easier approach -- it is inherent in us. We don't arrive into this world hardened and detached from the essence of who we are, many of us learn to disconnect over time. Therefore coming back to the place of accessing our softer side, is also something we can re-learn through practice and being gentle with ourselves.
Surrendering to your softer side is meant to be a gentle practice that you get to play with and experiment with over time, it doesn't have to happen all at once -- less is more because you are always enough.
Emily Madill is the author of 11 books in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. Her newest title 'Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time' is now being offered as an E-Course.
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