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Radical Softness as a Boundless Form of Resistance

In my pursuit to support local businesses, I came across a shopping bag I bought that said “Radical Softness as a Boundless Form of Resistance.” It sounded cool and, thus, bought it without giving it more intentional thought about its meaning or origins.

After using the bag for about a year and researching its origins and meaning, I learned that the bag was part of a zine written by GenderFail. They expound on this quote with the notion that softness, i.e. being vulnerable, can be a powerful act(ion) to create positive change in the community, especially challenging oppression enacted upon disenfranchised peoples. In a world where one can easily look to one’s own fulfillment, the quote asks the reader to consider centering our actions to care for others.

I use this quote in my daily practice as a human. And as a therapist it leads me to encourage my clients and myself to be radically soft - i.e., unapologetically transparent, vulnerable, and authentic. I know that this request is a risky proposition because it puts oneself in a state of exposure and discomfort. Yet, in my own life when I am vulnerable with those around me, I learn that they are more resilient than I give them credit for. As a result, I feel more seen and heard. I experience how powerful being authentic and vulnerable is and how these small actions day by day can cause a reverberation and change in my community.

Imagine a world where people say what they feel/think/need and we in turn can hear, listen, and collaborate to meet those needs. We can do this while expressing our own needs knowing that they’ll be treated the same. I hope that this quote will inspire you to pause and reflect on how you navigate the world. Consider how radical softness can be a stimulant to a kind of growth and change that makes a meaningful difference in your life and to those around you.


Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.

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