I’ve been hearing the phrase “lean in” a lot lately. Sheryl Sandberg popularized the term in her book of the same name but it’s been used by other people too. It can mean a lot of things from simply getting more involved to not running the opposite direction from what scares you. It can mean not sabotaging yourself by being afraid to experience happiness (what Brené Brown calls “foreboding joy”) or it can mean figuring out the ways that you might be unintentionally planning to not succeed.
The act of leaning in is a good thing. I just don’t like the phrase.
When I think of leaning into something, I picture physically moving into a hard object. It feels like it’s going to hurt. What works better for me is softening. If I soften my heart and mind, I offer less resistance. Softening isn’t as scary. I become more flexible and open to new ideas and suggestions. I feel less defensive and needing to be right. I’m more in the moment instead of planning for probabilities that don’t need my energy right now.
I soften myself whenever I want to pull back and resist. When I’m driving behind the slowest driver in human creation, I soften myself to him. When my kids are fighting over which Ninja Turtle is the coolest, I soften into the sound. When someone has an opinion that I don’t agree with, I soften my mind to appreciate the exchange of ideas. When my feelings are hurt, I soften my heart to let in love. When I really, really don’t want to feel an emotion, I soften to yield to it. To yield to the lesson, to surrender the control, to open myself up to God and accept help.
I’m like a gummy bear. I’m still a bear so I could eat you if I wanted to but I’m also flexible. 🙂
Here are two blog posts that spoke to me recently:
photo credit: iStock