#MicroblogMondays: Word Associations.


(Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.)


At Kripalu, in the midst of a really challenging pose, our yoga instructor asked us: Where can you soften here?

The idea of softening in the face of discomfort stuck with me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

In my mind, the word firm means focused, controlled, tight, strong. It’s willpower and intelligence and motivation and control and organization.

And the word soft means useless, weak, doughy. It’s messy and loose and feelings and chaos and overwhelm.

There is very little softness in my life nowadays.

Whenever I’m in an uncomfortable situation, or a conversation, or even sometimes sitting on my therapist’s couch – I tighten up. It’s a reflexive, protective movement, and I’m sometimes not even aware I’m doing it. But it happens, every time. I get tight before I yell. When I’m tight it’s nearly impossible for me to actually listen or be present, because I’m about to go on the offensive to avoid being hurt. When I’m tight I cannot see joy, all I see is negatives.

When I’m tight, then, I’m mad at myself for being a jerk, and I feel crappy, and I stay tense because really, Karen, can’t you just bite your tongue already?

So I’m seeing it, right here.

Hard is not helping me. It’s not helping anyone.

I need to soften, a little bit at a time. And I’m thinking it’s time I start experiment with it.

The first step, I think, is reframing my association with the words soft and firm. And here’s where I ask for help from you all – because I’d love to hear other viewpoints in the hopes that maybe I can shift my perspective on it.

What do you associate with the word Soft? 

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8 Responses to #MicroblogMondays: Word Associations.

  1. Ana says:

    I’ll be back to see what others have to say because I’m with you—firm, solid, strong backbone—those are the words I associate with strength. If I try to shift my perspective though, I can see “loose” as having just enough slack to be accommodating, and the flexibility to bend rather than break.

  2. sharah says:

    Soft = pillows, my mom’s hugs, the breeze in the hammock, flower petals, the dog’s fur, the nape of a baby’s neck, my favorite pajama pants. Soft is a very tactile word for me, strongly associated with comfort.

  3. Mali says:

    Yes, soft to me means relaxed, calm, pliable. Good things. It’s interesting, the associations we have with words. Tells us a lot about ourselves, if we care to listen. Now I’m off to think about other words and my associations with them.

  4. Mel says:

    Oh, this rang so true for me. It’s true; if you hold your body rigid, you’re not really correctly in the position. You should be able to hold a position for a long time, and you can’t when your body is stressed. I think about how often I feel my shoulders around my ears and then have to remind myself to lower them. And I wonder why I have back issues…

  5. noemi says:

    It’s interesting, your associations with the word soft. I can totally understand them, but they are not what I immediately go to when I think of the word. When I hear soft I think of comfort and care. I think of slipping into my sheets at night, or my favorite lounging pants and shirts, or my children’s cheeks when I come in for a kiss. Soft has the connotation of calm and comforting for me, of acceptance.

    I hope that helps.

  6. Karen says:

    I have just finished reading a book that took me a few years to swallow, 1000 Gifts. Her opening thoughts pegged me… “we come into the world with clenched fists” I also came into the world with a clenched jaw. She also speaks about anxiety, “anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stiffness. The way I curl my toes up in tight retreat.” This is me. And it sounds like it may hold some truth for you. I am working on being gentle, first with myself, then hopefully this will also spill over into my relationships. Gentle is another way of being soft, or tender, with myself. It is looking at myself as a young child and holding her close as I whisper into her ear, be gentle with yourself, love. You are enough. You are good. You are loved. – Karen from DM

  7. torthuil says:

    Interesting, and true. Reminds me of mindfulness. There is a time and a place for both hard and soft, but it’s good to be aware of what you are doing with both. As for me, right now the words are giving me dirty thoughts . 😉

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