Trying A Little Tenderness

In 2004, a life coach said that I would find my “soulmate” when I made a list of all the qualities and characteristics I wanted in a mate and when I myself embodied those qualities. I took the first part of her assignment to heart but didn’t feel the second part applied to me. Let’s face it — I’m a pretty good catch. Funny, honest to a fault, smart, I make things happen. I’d date myself. Maybe. Actually. Wait.

In 2006 I showed the list to my business school roommate and I remember her sitting on my bed, reading the list and she didn’t even have to read the first item on the list to start laughing. It was more like “I’m about to pee my pants” kind of laugh. She cried. Tears came down her face.

What was the first thing on my list?

A twinkle in his eye.

I said to her in all seriousness, “But the eyes are the window to the soul. “

I am a hopeless romantic but I am also a book of contradictions. I am complex but not really. There is a method to my madness.

I am an outgoing introvert. I can walk into any room, talk to anyone but when I meet someone I really like, I become shy and have trouble making eye contact. My shyness comes across as aloofness or simply not caring. I’m aloof because I need time to think about whether this person is safe. I guard my heart.

My close friends don’t understand this approach as they think if I could just be myself out of the gate guys would be falling all over themselves to get to know me. But I do put up a lot of walls. I test people. I make it really hard for people to get to know me. Sometimes I make it really hard for people to love me.

I read a quote this past weekend, “You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.” So I started to wonder — what are the qualities of the people I am attracting that I wish they had. In other words, if I am attracting what I am, it will be easier to spot what is missing in someone else because it’s hard sometimes to be objective when you judge yourself.


When I look at most of our spiritual teachers, they all share one thing in common: they had tender hearts and tough hides. So if I model myself after Jesus, Gandhi, the Buddha, or the Dalai Lama then I should be good to go. (#LOL)

Is there a way to be both tough and tender? I guess I am about to find out as I meditate on and practice — a little tenderness.