Softening from the Inside, Out

There are moments in our lives that act like hinges. Pivotal and often small things that swing the door wide open in our perspective and in our lives.


I experienced one of those pivotal moments this past weekend. 

Several years ago, when I was in the beginning stages of this healing journey, I was concerned about what I considered to be the state of my heart. It felt stony. Hard. Solid. Locked away behind thick walls. Seemed completely inaccessible in any way by me. And I felt unable to soften into anything. Often struggling to allow myself to feel anything. A part of me kept deep inside, safely in a shell where nothing could hurt it. 

As I shared this with a friend, he commented that perhaps I could let the love that was already there soften things from the inside. 

I didn't know what he meant. 

Because I was pretty sure there wasn't anything there to do any softening. And even if there was and everything became a mushy mess from the inside, there would still be the issue of the walls on the outside that just weren't going anywhere. Or so I thought. 

Lucky for me, I was wrong. 

It didn't happen overnight. I don't know that I can really say when it did or even how it did. Whether my heart softened from the inside or whether those walls gradually got smaller and smaller until they disappeared. It doesn't really matter except that they did. And continue to do so.

In the process, I've heard many things that have been helpful in furthering this business of softening. Of trusting and feeling. Words and phrases that would stick in my awareness. Some because they resonated deeply with me. Some because I had absolutely no idea what they meant, but that rattled around inside demanding attention until I did. 

Words that came from the outside, and settled on the inside where they could begin to take root.


I have needed those.

I've heard it suggested many times that I tell myself I did the best I could. That I survived. That it wasn't my fault. That I love me. I've usually done as has been suggested. Sometimes feeling those words sink in. Sometimes feeling them bounce right off my internal objections. Sometimes having to really work at just saying them, without a chance in the world of actually believing them. And sometimes feeling them take root. Working from the outside in. 

And I have gradually been softening.

This past weekend, I found something new. I felt what it means to soften from the inside out. Felt the product of many of those words and experiences blossom into something beautiful. Felt and heard for the first time I can recall the unmistakable words from somewhere deep inside that I am safe. Not new words. But a very new feeling. Impossible to describe. But a pivotal moment. Because the words came from inside. They came from me. 

The words of others have been important and needed in this journey. But the ones that come from the inside are the ones that really matter. 

And unlike the chatter that sometimes goes on inside, the kind where I have to remind myself that I don't have to believe everything I think, I knew immediately that these words came from a place of wisdom and strength deep inside. And that they were absolutely true. 

It has changed how I feel. 

It has taken years to understand what my friend meant about softening from the inside. As with many other things, I have been trying to understand intellectually something that has to be felt. Often relying on or expecting the words of others to help me soften and feel. It is a whole new level of feeling to have the words come from within. 

Wherever you are in your healing journey, keep softening. Whether it is from the outside in, or the inside out, keep letting yourself feel. Feel it all. The walls. The resistance. The objections. The fears. Let the words sink into all of that and soften even more. Because as you do, one day those words will become yours. And you will hear and feel them from deep within. Softening from the inside out in a way you never thought possible. 

When you do, you will never be the same. 

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