A Reminder to Soften

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Oh, how easy it is to spit out a witty comeback or a hurtful reply! Our world is full of painful examples of people reacting quickly to the things around them, often in rather unkind ways. I'm sure we can all think of times when we've said things we wish we could take back. Even if we don't mean to, our words have the ability to deeply wound those around us if we're not careful.

But how might that change if we just paused for a moment before replying and consciously tried to soften our responses?

What might our friendships, workplaces, homes, families, and communities look like if we responded more kindly on a consistent basis?

We certainly can't be perfect. We won't always know what to say. But I think we often can look back on things that came out of our mouths or off of our fingertips and see that we said the wrong thing.

But because we can't take back our words after we say them, it's imperative that we consider them just a little bit longer before we let them out.

We say and type out some rather nasty, condemning, insulting, hurtful things when we're not careful. May we begin choosing kindness, generosity, grace, and love instead.

My Vow to Soften

...I vow to listen to opinions – I don’t always have to be right.

I don’t always have to agree or have the last word.

...I vow to be more accepting of quirks, mannerisms, and differences.

I vow to be more accepting of tastes and styles unlike my own.

I vow to remember he is in the process of becoming; she is in the process of finding her way. And they are more apt to do it if I stop telling them how.

I vow to regard “weaknesses” as unripened strengths.

Inner gifts can be nurtured when I stop plotting ways to alter, change, and “improve.”

I vow to greet my family and myself with a loving smile,

no matter what happened yesterday.

I vow to pause before correcting.

I shall take a moment to consider if the mistake even needs to be mentioned at all.

I vow to be a voice of encouragement in a demeaning world.

I vow to be a silver lining spotter in my family’s little world.

I vow to be softer today than I was yesterday—a softer voice, a softer posture, a softer touch, a softer thought, a softer timetable.

By being softer, I can hear more, learn more, feel more, and love more.

At last I will fully see his colors, her colors, and my own.

Perhaps it will be for the very first time.

The colors might take my breath away,

bring me to tears,

or offer long-awaited peace.

I shall soften in order to illuminate the colors of the soul.

I shall soften so the human being within me and beside me can shine. -Ann Voskamp

I truly couldn't say that better if I tried. May we all be willing to soften our hearts and our words, that we might better love ourselves, our people, and our world.


Further reading:

how to soften your sharp edges with just three simple words by Ann Voskamp