Some Advice for Soft People:

You can use your softness to become more powerful

Image for post
Proof that I am a softie. My daughter’s old doll by my bedside.

I know I have a soft touch. More than once, I have not pushed hard enough to open something, or move something, and needed to ask for help. And someone else (male or female) seemed to do it easily. We joke about how I loosened it up, but I know it’s something else. This is me. It came to a full-fledged awareness yesterday at the airport when I tried to scan my boarding pass into the ticket scanner. When the agent saw my struggle, he did it just like that (finger snap). He was even kind of nerdy. I noticed he had put a little force in it, where I kind of just let it float under the scanner. “Oh you need force,” I said. He laughed.

I realized in that moment that I had done this on many occasions in my life. I am too cautious. I walk through life not wanting to break things. I like being a softie, a pacifist, the opposite of a drama queen. I am a cool cookie. I have been complimented for my patience. In fact, I recently wrote a note to myself that “Patience is my Superpower.”

Like anything, there is a shadow aspect to this. Because I’m patient, I don’t fight for anything. Because I’m mellow, I don’t have a fire in my belly to even set goals, much less achieve them. Because I’m a softie, I waste time by taking too long to do something that could be done faster with more force.

So, while it’s good to know yourself, it’s also good to know the shadow side of that characteristic. Rather than a contradiction, it is an empowering tension. Let me break it down for you:

  1. Know yourself. What is your superpower? What quality do you have that you seem to get complimented for a lot?
  2. Excavate. What is the shadow manifestation of this positive quality? This is the hard part and took me years to get to this: In what way is this quality a hindrance to your self-development?
  3. Implement. Okay now. Be aware of those times when you would normally let things ride, and just speak up, or apply force, or carry yourself with just a little more oomph. Less mellow, more edge.

Don’ t worry, if you’re really a softie, this is not going to turn you into a diva. You’ll still at core — you. But you’ll just be a little more human, a little more full because you have partnered with your shadow self. You will have more “force” or as we say in Hawaii, more “mana” by which to live a fuller life.

Playwright, essayist, teacher, artist, songwriter, poet. Creativity Activist. Learn more: https://www.dianeaoki.com

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