“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
I’ve been thinking about the above quote from Iain Thomas lately. I come back to it whenever I feel like I’m not acting like myself: like the world is making me ‘hard’.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being tough. There is certainly nothing wrong with being strong. And I want everyone to be confident and I always admire chutzpah, bien sur. But I worry that too many of us are becoming/feel they should be ‘hard’ to the world.
Don’t let the world take your softness. This is nothing to do with femininity, with sexuality or gender. This is nothing to do with feminism or equality. For me it’s about allowing yourself, whoever you are, wherever you’ve come from, to sometimes be vulnerable. It’s about letting people in. It’s about coming from a place of kindness and letting a little optimism in sometimes.
No one needs to become super sunshine happy. But I worry about myself. I spend all day trying to conceal my feelings that when I finally have a chance to release them, they come out as anger or resentment or aggression. I don’t want to be aggressive. I don’t even like being passive-aggressive.
Over the last 18 months I have turned into a ball of stress and discomfort. I’ve been difficult and rude. I’ve been passive-aggressive and unkind. I’ve been unhelpful and negative. I’m working on it.
I like feelings. Feelings are important. Feelings tell us so much, even when they’re confusing. I am not scared to feel them, even when I hate them. Why would you want to be devoid of feeling? To me that seems like hiding. It seems like withdrawing. It seems like running away.
I don’t want to run away. I know what needs changing and I know my behaviour is not always acceptable. But I also know I have high standards and I need to be kinder to myself, too.
Embrace where you’ve been, who you might have been, who you were not so long ago, who you are now. And aspire to be kinder, to be more open, to free yourself of what’s weighing you down.