Opinion: Wisdom Workout


Heavy-Handed or a Soft Touch

Susan Valesquez

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

Some say, “You create everything in your universe. The magic emanates from you.” Others say: “everything is given to you by the grace of God. You are fortunate to be blessed.”

It is also a common belief that: “It is the luck of the draw. Don’t get too cocky because you might just trip and fall tomorrow. Spit three times and hope that things that go bump in the night don’t come after you for bragging about your good fortune.”

Of course, those times underscore the notion that life is out to get us and everywhere we turn life seems hell-bent on delivering experiences that put our teeth on edge and shatter our coping skills.

Whatever belief you subscribe to or whether you embrace all of those mentioned isn’t the point.

Instead, I want to highlight the idea that just as the little things that flow smoothly can create the context for increased joy, perhaps we are missing many opportunities to contribute to our happiness because we withhold the small kindnesses that can smooth the road for ourselves and others.

Imagine approaching each day with the intent to treat ourselves to healthy doses of self-liking while simultaneously extending general openness and acceptance to everyone we meet.

When we are generous with our energy, it sets the stage for the possibility of a high-level exchange. We can use the analogy of a handshake. If we extend our hand to another with a clear intent to connect, we’ve initiated the possibility of a positive interaction. If the other person is distracted, has a wimpy, dead-fish handshake, or rejects our extended hand, a strong negative impression is set, and the outcome is a misfire that fosters disconnection and lowers the likelihood of an enjoyable interaction.

Time away from our usual routines can soften the rough edges that sneak into the corners of our mind. A change in scenery can stimulate new ways of seeing. The periodic freedom from responsibilities brings openness and receptivity to the simple pleasures that life provides. Slowing down to experience the moment can yield a simple revelation that life is actually working beautifully.

Easy exchanges with strangers, good service from a favorite restaurant, the sun shining softly so the light is a perfect hue, or being mesmerized by an awe-inspiring sunset; it is the little things that join together in a seamless pattern that says that life has decided to be a gracious host for this moment, hour, day or as long as we can sustain a genuinely open and receptive attitude.

The caution is to ensure we aren’t under the spell of habitual and unnecessary fears that keep our gracious humanity hopelessly disabled. There is a common truth that fear makes cowards of us all.

An elegant life is within our grasp. It requires the courage to fully embrace a shift away from an overly protective stance toward life that locks us into harsh self-judgments and heavy-handed treatment of others.

It takes a leap of courage to let down our protective veneer in favor of embracing a soft touch. The benefits of embarking on this journey are a free and expansive approach to our lives.

Hesitant? Of course. Why? Because the common meaning of ‘soft touch’ is someone who is easily influenced, duped, controlled or imposed upon and easily manipulated by a sob story. Discernment is a necessary quality that is meant to assist us in our right and responsibility to say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no.

It is time to take full ownership of the quality of our individual lives, and the reward is a full, rich life that isn’t defined by short-sighted definitions that leave us paralyzed with fear of the future rather than suiting up and showing up as a full and rich contributor to your life, your loves and your core values.

Susan is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Reach her at susanvelasquez.com.

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