The Courage to be Gentle

Armor

I was flipping through some old “draft” blog entries I’d written a few months ago that I half-wrote and never published—just keeping them for a day like today when I didn’t feel like starting a new blog post from scratch… And I came across an entry I’d saved back in March entitled “The Courage to be Gentle” that contained the poem below. I have absolutely no idea who wrote the poem (I’m fairly certain it wasn’t me)—but I think it’s beautiful, so I’m sharing it here with you today.

THE COURAGE TO BE GENTLE

It takes a lot of courage to be gentle in the face of things I find challenging…

Embarrassing…

Humiliating…

I want to harden

When I’ve made a mistake…

All I want to do is ROAR…

It takes a lot of courage to be gentle.

To admit my shortcomings.

Now I soften.

I can certainly identify with wanting to harden when life feels difficult, or when I’ve made a mistake or feel embarrassed in some way…. My body automatically tenses in these situations—and so do my emotions.

Hardening feels like my body’s way of creating a protective shell—or armor, if you will. And, I can see how, in some circumstances, it can be beneficial (setting boundaries to protect myself from toxic people, for instance). But, for the most part, I’ve come to understand that hardening in order to protect my ego from getting hurt just cuts me off from receiving the love and acceptance I usually need (from both myself and others) in order to truly learn and/or heal from the situation.

Softening, instead of hardening, might feel counterintuitive (and uncomfortable) when our egos get bruised. But doing so is an act of courage that just might benefit both ourselves—and those around us—in the long run.