Inviting Softness


What is it about being soft?

Often the signals I get from those around me, especially at work, are that being soft is taboo or unprofessional. Having feelings and showing emotion, speaking of play, joy and love at the workplace – oh, my!


As stress levels increase in response to the greater volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of the world today, maybe a little heart is just what’s needed.

What possibility waits by opening our hearts and seeing those around us? If we truly listen to the person speaking to us, might we see a reflection of ourselves and open to compassion and understanding? Is it possible to love people you work with? Might the office be a breeding ground for connection and meaning?


It can be scary leaning into your softness at work. It takes commitment to move aside the parts of yourself that shield and protect your softness. The desperate need for connection, meaning, celebration, and acknowledgement that is apparent in the workplace of today is an invitation.


I’ve included a poem I wrote recently as I embraced the power of softness.

By Vicki L. Flaherty

you can peek
into her heart.
you might even see
the light
like a halo
emanating around her.
there’s kindness
in her actions
and hope
in her words.
dare I say it?
there is love.
love of
making a difference.
what’s deep inside her
from the essence
of her being
she chooses
and acts.
she provides
the clarity
the direction
the guidance
that leads to results.
when she listens
to her gentle voice within
tangible outcomes
touch lives
reach people
make the world
a better place.
her softness
is the heart
of all good things.

Won’t you let a little heart in today? What would it look like for you to be soft today?


* Photo Credit: Courtesy of


12 thoughts on “Inviting Softness

  1. A colleague who was unable to post this comment asked me to share…it’s a lovely perspective. Thanks, Ping.

    Dearest Vicki,
    I totally relate to your sharing. As technology advances faster than we can catch up, what’s important and sometimes forgotten is to have a heart. A heart of compassion, empathy, love and courage.

    A soft heart does not mean a weak mind … a soft heart does not mean one will not be successful … a soft heart does not mean one cannot be a positive influence … a soft heart does not mean one cannot be an inspiration of others … A soft heart simply means one is a human … a human being with humility , grace, compassion, courage to face the world and overcome challenges / obstacles.

    Thank you for your sharing … great blog to start the week!!

  2. I agree with Ping’s lovely remarks. In addition, I would say that in most cases, rigidity is a response to fear. There is a lot of fear in the world. There is a lot of fear at work. And like the tree that cannot bend when the winds come… rigid people suffer the most from the very thing they are trying so hard to prevent.

  3. This reminded me of a story shared by Jack Kornfield about the transformation potential of a soft/aching heart:

    In the Jewish mystical tradition, one great Rabbi taught his disciples to memorize and contemplate the teachings and place the prayers and holy words on their heart. One day a student asked the Rabbi why he always used the phrase “on your heart” and not “in your heart,” and the master replied, “Only time and grace can put the essence of these stories in your heart. Here we recite and learn them and put them on our hearts hoping that some day when our heart breaks they will fall in.” (

    • Thank you for sharing that story. It’s lovely. I frequently use the term “I’m holding you in my heart.” when my heart aches, often for someone in pain. Indeed, all the mantras, inspirations, aspirations, personal truths I’ve put on my heart seem to melt in at those times, creating a sort of powerful light.

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