Do you remember the story of the Princess and the Pea? It is the one where the princess can feel a pea under her mattress. More and more mattresses are piled on top of it but she can still feel the pea. Most of us do not have royal status but it is interesting to ponder on our own human sensitivity and how we often override what we feel.
For example, how often do we put up with uncomfortable clothing because it is fashionable, looks good or is a particular colour? This can apply to any outfit – dresses, trousers, coats, even underwear, shoes and socks.
Our sensitivity can extend to how we wear all our clothing, for example, if we are wearing socks with a lumpy toe seam or elastic that was too tight around the leg we can feel it, it feels uncomfortable. But so often we override that feeling and ‘put up with it’ rather than take care to adjust the clothing or search out a sock with no toe seam or a design that’s a good fit.
We can convince ourselves that these little things don’t matter but could it be, that in this belief we are also ignoring other parts of life that don’t feel right? For example, where we choose to not say something when we’ve been spoken to and it doesn’t feel right, or where we’ve put up with discomfort rather than ‘make a fuss’. Instead we could take a moment to honour these feelings and make an alteration, knowing that as women one of our most powerful qualities is this sensitivity and natural tenderness.
In learning to see ourselves as tender and precious, as someone to be cared for deeply, as we would a small new-born baby, we can begin to see where we are hard in the ways we live our lives. Often we have hardened in order to survive and cope with life’s knocks and bruises, not just physical but emotional and verbal as well. It is possible that in doing so, we have suppressed our natural tender ways.
Re-developing our Tender Way
Tenderness can be re-developed by observing the small things in our day-to-day lives. Examples could be feeling the way we dress: do we drag our clothes on quickly or put them on lovingly and tenderly? When we walk, is it hard like a man, or gentle feeling our feet with every step? When we pick something up, do we grab it, or are we focused on how our fingers can gently make contact before lifting it? When we speak, is there an edge and a drive to our voice or a gentle expression of who we truly are? Everything we do can be done gently and with tenderness.
Can Sensitivity and Tenderness be a Powerful Support?
Contrary to what most of us have been brought up to believe, sensitivity is not a weakness, it is one of our greatest strengths.
If we were to accept that, as we become more tender and our sensitivity increases, we can feel much more of what is going on. Would we not then notice our bodies telling us what feels good and what feels not so great? By paying attention to what our bodies are saying and honouring what we truly feel, we can make more self-loving choices in life – these are truly powerful choices in support of our own wellbeing.
Making these simple self-loving choices – whether that be with what to wear, what to do or how to be with ourselves, will create a nurturing way of living for ourselves, and perhaps inspire a more tender way of living for all. Now that’s true power.
by Carmel Reid, Somerset UK