The Sages of the East describe the paradoxical demeanor of perfected spiritualists: harder than a thunderbolt, and simultaneously softer than a rose. To accommodate such strength and sensitivity side-by-side, and perfectly administer the necessary doses at the appropriate time, is indeed a tough balance to strike!
When do we emotionally invest, and when do we employ tough love? How do we seamlessly adapt our approach in a way that’s natural and human? How can we avoid misjudging a situation and losing the balance?
I do have a soft side to myself. More often than not, however, its underpinned by my lingering doubts, lack of responsibility, desire to be accepted, and fear of mistake. Riddled with such internal weakness, I skillfully avoid issues and embrace the path of least resistance, not wanting to ruffle any feathers, and instead keep my life comfortable and sweet. That’s not the kind of softness that’s desirable. That’s not, unfortunately, being soft like a rose. I also have a stern and strong side to me. Most times, however, its driven by an ugly pride, a heavyweight ego, the tendency for controllership, and the passion to be right. We lay down the law, flex our muscles, and exercise authority, not in a spirit of genuine concern, but rather to make up for our own insecurity and vacuum.
When surface approaches of sensitivity and strength are founded upon a sincere selflessness, balancing the two emotions becomes effortless and natural. When our underlying motivation is to genuinely help someone, and that becomes the universal reference point, then we can confidently and unhesitatingly embrace whatever approach will facilitate growth. Sometimes we lovingly encourage someone through emotional investments, and other times we employ strictness to establish principles, standards and discipline. Either way, people will be benefited. And, on those occasions where we do misjudge the situation and employ the wrong approach, people will hear the language of the heart. They may see our human frailties, but deeply appreciate that we really want to help. When our motivation is corrupted, however, even the smoothest diplomacy and watertight arguments will be met with suspicion and distaste. Sincerity and selflessness are the foundations of the sensitively strong.