“The ability to be strong and soft is an art, it’s a gift, it’s a superpower we all have inside…STROFT!”
Quilted Northern advertises their toilet paper as being Soft and Strong. They even had a commercial in the 1980s using the word stroft when describing how durable and forgiving it is. I think we all can agree that we appreciate a soft, yet strong toilet paper.
There is a company in Germany that makes a fishing line called STROFT. Their marketing strategy is to tout the strength of the line letting you know it won’t break, ensuring you it’s strong yet flexible and will glide smoothly in the water when you have a fish on the hook; never breaking as you reel in your catch.
Those were the two items that popped up when I Googled the word STROFT. I couldn’t find anyone using the concept of STROFT to define a personality trait, so here we are. In simple terms, it’s the concept of being Strong and Soft as a whole.
As humans we are inclined to place people in either one category or another:
Street Smart or Book Smart
Creative or Responsible
Dependable or Adaptable
Strong or Soft
I question, “Why is it always one or the other, why can’t we be both?”
By strong I do not mean insensitive, unkind or cold. I’m not insinuating in any way that strong people aren’t kind or empathetic. But at times when people hear the word “strong” when describing someone they often associate it with being a bit hardened, uncaring or tolerant.
On the flip side, when people hear the word “soft” or “softy” when describing someone, people tend to perceive that person as being a pushover or weak.
From personal experiences in life, I have learned that if you focus on getting through the difficult times ONLY by being STRONG, it can cause you to put walls up around yourself and harden you. And if you ONLY focus on staying soft, it can hinder you from moving forward.
I do believe that when you are faced with struggles and obstacles in life you learn from them and grow. But I don’t believe they are only making you “stronger” I believe they make you STROFTER.
What I’m referring to when I say STROFT is mental strength and softness. Being able to balance rational thinking and emotions. Being aware of your thoughts and emotions and being able to respond rationally and thoughtfully, rather than reacting hasty or rash.
Being mentally STROFT allows you to fall down but get back up and keep moving forward. It also allows you to admit when you are wrong without having to put the blame on someone or something else.
Life struggles, failure, or facing the unknown with optimism can certainly strengthen you, but you get to choose whether you let that strength harden you, or humble you. We will all have obstacles we will be faced with in life, staying STROFT in the face of those challenges involves perseverance.
Developing the ability to be soft and strong is an art. It takes practice to find equilibrium and to not swing too far to one side of the pendulum or the other. To be a good parent, leader, employee, friend, partner or decent human, it comes down to balance.
Being strong and soft allows you to be kind, resilient, compassionate, determined, considerate, decisive and empathetic…all in one. When you do find that middle ground, it’s as if you’re looking at a scale with a feather on one side and a rock on the other…and yet they are balanced.
- S: Strive. Strive to always be the best version of you. That doesn’t mean you are always trying to be “perfect”. The best version of you is being true to yourself, authentic, giving yourself permission to have bad days, learn from those moments and become STROFTER.
- T: Trust. Trust in yourself. Building trust for those around you takes time, not many of us trust new people as they enter our lives as quickly as we trusted our mothers when we were babies. But trusting yourself can be just as difficult. Learn to trust that YOU know YOU best.
- R: Rise. Rise to the occasion. Rise above the negative. Keep moving forward.
- O: Optimism. Being optimistic doesn’t mean you are being naïve to think the world is only filled with rainbows and butterflies. Be optimistic to push yourself again, even if you’ve failed. Be optimistic enough to try again. Being skeptical is ok too, but balancing that with optimism allows you to believe the current situation doesn’t get to predict the outcome.
- F: Flexible. You might have your life plan set, but you are going to be disappointed when it veers to the left or right. Be willing to be flexible and adaptable because the world (even the one you had planned) is ever changing.
- T: Thrive. Look at your life and where you are, ask yourself if there are changes in your life that will help you feel more fulfilled. Maybe you are already thriving, maybe you are not. I encourage you to not live a life of complacency; keep changing, expanding, growing, thriving.
I’m sure you have heard (or have even said it yourself), “This will only make you stronger!” When I face challenges now, I remind myself to be more like my toilet paper and I tell myself:
“This will only make you STROFTER!”
Remember, You Got This!