essays on suffering and awakening

What we really need to learn is how to soften

Watching a father on television telling his crying son that he needs to learn to toughen up, my wife shakes her head. “No,” she says. “What we really need to learn is how to soften.”

She’s right, of course. When we harden ourselves against the world, we distort our sense of reality by denying our inherent vulnerability. That hurts—both ourselves and those around us.

Softening to our vulnerability is scary, but if we don’t want to suffer, what other way is there?

Ian Cooper