• Christy McCaffrey

It Is Possible To Be Both Strong and Gentle

It is possible to be both strong and gentle, although the world around us may often tell us the opposite is true. I am an incredibly empathetic person who honestly couldn’t choose otherwise even if I wanted to because that is just who I was made to be, but that empathetic quality has also led me to discover that I am incredibly strong and capable of making a significant impact on the world. It has also helped me to learn how to be assertive without the need to be aggressive.

“The most valuable lesson I have learned over the years is that a more gentle approach to my life and my goals can actually produce the most fruitful or “successful” results."

I sometimes wish I could turn down my ability to be empathetic because it hurts to feel everything, but I also have come to find a deep appreciation for this quality because it has allowed me to experience life in a deep and meaningful way and it has inspired me to act from a place of compassion and with the intent to do all I can to make the world a better place. It is literally a fire in me that drives me to act and I have ultimately been able to accomplish significant life goals because of this passionate drive.

This empathetic and gentle side of me is far from weak. In fact, it has proven to be the greatest source of strength I possess. For instance, when my mom was dying of an incurable disease my empathy allowed me to show up completely for her in every way she needed me. I was able to face some of the most difficult and painful challenges we encounter as humans with a steady calm because I drew strength from this deep knowing that I was well equipped to handle it. I have faced many other challenges in my life and accomplished goals I wasn’t sure I could achieve, and I did so by remaining committed to that gentle and steady strength.

We might sometimes feel that the only way to achieve what we deem “success” is by way of force or relentless effort. I used to feel that the only way I could accomplish my goals was to be in constant motion, constantly striving for more and with a slight obsession for over working and ultimately exhausting myself. I took a lot of pride in my early twenties in working myself into the ground and having a million different projects going on at once. But no matter how hard I worked I still felt like I was running in place in terms of feeling “successful”.

It wasn’t until I slowed down and took an entirely different approach to my goals that I was able to truly begin to feel success. The game changer for me was when I decided to base my success on how much I felt I was fulfilling my calling, or purpose, as opposed to accomplishing goals just for the sake of saying I accomplished them. Once I made this shift in my perspective I began to re-prioritize the goals I had and to redefine what success really meant to me.

The most valuable lesson I have learned over the years is that a more gentle approach to my life and my goals can actually produce the most fruitful or “successful” results. With a quiet and steady calm, a strong belief in myself and the intent to let life unfold as it should, I have learned how to move away from that frantic energy of my younger years. I have learned how to embrace the incredible inner peace that comes along with accepting that goals can be achieved in a gentle and patient way, and with a new found understanding that I am in no way weaker for approaching my life this way. My point is that it is possible for those who operate from an empathetic or more gentle place to in fact be very strong. And conversely, I think that those who operate from an aggressive place may find that a more gentle approach can go along way in creating more peace and purpose in your life.

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