Soft IS Strong…

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Gentleness | 4 comments

Soft IS Strong…

Soft IS Strong…

“There’s nothing more important on our spiritual path than developing gentleness to oneself.”   -Pema Chodron

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I once had a few dates with a woman who was trying to understand the work I do. “So what does it actually do in the end?” she asked. “I guess I teach people to be gentle with themselves” is what I came up with.

She had a very hard time understanding this. She didn’t exactly see the value in this. She reported that she was gentle with herself and would not need help to get there. The truth was that she was so NOT gentle with herself. I knew this from many clues. One was that she was very rigid with herself and her schedule. She was hard on herself about her goals. She looked outside herself to a guru for her spirituality. The biggest clue of all was that she was very unkind to me.

Yep. As we practice gentleness with ourselves, we naturally extend that golden elixir of gentleness toward others. This woman admitted her missteps with me and told me that believed she was unkind to me because she liked me so much. She wondered if she was sabotaging things. She did it again.

I stopped dating her.

When someone is not kind to us, can we love ourselves enough to walk away? Pretty easy to do if it’s a few dates. What if it is a longstanding relationship? How to move away from criticism, contempt, and sarcasm and toward relationships that are loving, nurturing, caring, kind, and gentle?

Most of us believe the answer is to get the ‘offender’ to change. We can clearly see how mean they are. We can see their missteps. We can feel their unhappiness and know that their treatment of us is an extension of that. But trying to get someone else to change is never the answer. It just doesn’t work.

But we can invite change within ourselves. The trick to having a life we love is to practice being gentle with ourselves. This is much harder than it sounds. Being gentle with yourself translates to ALWAYS being on your own side. Not beating yourself up ever. Loving yourself even in the midst of mistakes. Loving your body. Loving your mind. Falling in love with your own unique way of walking in the world. Understanding that you are always doing your very best, in every moment of every day. People believe that beating themselves up is good as it ‘teaches’ them what not to do next time. It doesn’t work; meeting ourselves with gentleness does work. It’s like magic.

If you have attracted and stayed in relationships that are not gentle, I can guarantee that you have not mastered the art of being gentle with yourself. Because once you are really there, once you know beyond doubt that you are both soft and strong, that soft IS strong, then you start to see more softness in your life. Everything in your life just begins to change. That is the magic. Your relationships become supportive and kind, your path in life unfolds with the utmost gentleness, your relationship with yourself is something you can consistently count on. That is mastery. You can get there. Start today by finding your gentle and compassionate inner voice. Be soft with yourself as you would with a small child. You’ve got this. So. Much. Love.


  1. This is EXACTLY where I’m at right now. I was at the point, again, of running away from my 20 year partnership, but I’m going to try the ‘being soft with myself’ approach…..even just beginning to notice where I’m not….that’s a good start. Beautiful post, thanks Patricia x

    • Wendy,
      I am so glad this post resonates for you. Sending the most gentle thoughts your way. We can be warriors of gentleness together!

  2. i love this! and you! thank you for describing what it means to be gentle with yourself. i always hear that but i’m still trying to grasp what that actually means.

    • Thank you for reading Sharin! We can all use a LOT of reminders to be more gentle with ourselves. Hugs!

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