A Revolution of Tenderness

by Julie on July 18, 2010 · 31 comments





It is in your self-interest to find a way to be very tender. ~ Jenny Holzer

The power of tenderness.

The tender skin of one touching the tender skin of another, causing an exquisite encounter, not possible in any other way.

The tender eyes that want nothing from the world, except to welcome and embrace all that generously spills into view.

The tender heart that loves simply for love’s sake, rather than for what one might get out of loving.

Some tender places of the heart can only be known in relationship, when one is willing to lay down arms, open the heart and wait, exposed.

I know the power of tenderness.

We all know the power of tenderness.

Revolution begins with changes in the individual. ~ Jenny Holzer

We already know, well, revolutions of domination, where ‘power over’ has all but brought the human race to death’s door.

We know the power of tenderness in intimate moments.

What if we were to realize that it is in our own self-interest to engage in a revolution of tenderness?

What if we were to realize that the power of tenderness is so much greater than the power of tyranny?

I, too, wonder how this might happen, how we shift from tyranny to tenderness.

Those that engage in domination and destruction stand in a perspective that sees tenderness as weakness, not strength.

But, I also know the only way to begin a revolution within is with a tender ‘yes’, a surrendered ‘yes’.

It begins with trusting that ultimately, the power of tenderness rather than the power of domination will be what saves us.

Which is the more powerful act?

Somewhere within each of us is a place that dominates and condemns – others and ourselves. This place is the most tender of places, because, it fears tenderness, yet longs to be showered with it. This place learned to dominate early. It learned to condemn and judge at an early age. When tenderness was what this place was longing for, instead it received judgment. Somewhere this place believes judgment and condemnation are the best way to be strong in an unsafe world; yet, if you check-in closely, what’s really going on is a longing to be touched with tender hands, to be seen, really seen, with tender eyes, and to be held and embraced by the most tender places of the heart. Hence, it is in your own self-interest to be tender.

We may fear being tender and loving will be seen as weak by those that continue to shower our beautiful world with hate, violence, oppression and greed. And as long as we see it as being weak, they will. When we know the strength of tenderness as a gift to ourselves, and when we see the powerful effects of the offering of tenderness to another, the perspective that ‘tenderness is weakness’ can begin to shift.

Try it. Feel the effects it has on you and others. Compare these to the moments when you judge and condemn others. Then, ask yourself, truly look to see, which is the more powerful act? Which way of being requires true vulnerability and fierce loyalty to love?

We’ve all judged and been judged. We’ve all condemned and been condemned We’ve all dominated and been dominated.We all know these experiences. What if we were to caress another’s ragged coat of life with the tender touch of one who knows these things intimately? This is the real revolution of tenderness that is poised to unfold.


This is the first post in a series of three on tenderness, power and grace. All three posts are part of the Summer of Love Invitational, where the lovely Mahala Mazerov has invited bloggers to write about loving kindness.

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Heather Plett July 18, 2010 at 7:08 am

Another beautiful post. Thank you.

Are you writing a book? If not, you should be.

Julie July 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Thank you. Yes, I am. I love having you share this. I gives me a second wind to keep writing.

wholly jeanne July 19, 2010 at 3:41 am

“tenderness.” now there’s a word i haven’t heard in a while. tenderness.



i like it. i say let’s bring it back in style, back into the everyday lane. it’s one of those seeds that’s always there, isn’t it? a seed that just needs us to move the rocks and boulders that lie between seed and sun.

tenderness: a new power tool. yes.

Julie July 19, 2010 at 6:31 am

Jeanne, yes, tenderness has been relegated to the back-forty. Yet, it is key to really loving self, which is no different than loving all. A new power tool…love it, dear.

Renae C July 19, 2010 at 11:53 am

Reading every word and feeling the internal shiftings that have no words. Keep writing Julie, keep writing.

Julie July 19, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Beautiful. Just feeling with no words.
Thank you for the encouragement. It means a great deal to me.

Trish Scott July 20, 2010 at 6:41 am

This is simply perfectly beautiful. Thank you. I’ll be sharing it.

Julie July 20, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Trish, Thank you for your kind words. I love that you are sharing it. Maybe that revolution will happen, yet. Blessings.

Jay Schryer July 20, 2010 at 6:41 am

This is really and truly beautiful. As a tender, kind-hearted man, I’ve rarely felt this validated before. Thank you!

Julie July 20, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Jay, Your words have brought tears. I think a tender-hearted man is one of the most beautiful things in the world. I’m so glad you came by to read and share your own wisdom. Blessings.

Tori Janaya July 20, 2010 at 6:44 am

Julie, this is so powerful, sweet and soft. Thank you for the thoughtful words that enter my heart and curl up there like they belong. Such good medicine.

Julie July 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Tori, I’m glad this spoke to you. Tender healing, tending your heart.

Julie July 20, 2010 at 7:16 am

This is like coming home.

Julie July 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Julie, Ahhhh. Welcome Home. I’m so glad you found a place here, to come home to. Blessings to you, Julie.

Julie Jordan Scott July 20, 2010 at 9:41 am

Thank you for introducing me to #SOLI, Julie. Such a beautiful project.. and as soon as I read your words I simply had to write of a moment of loving-kindness from last weekend.

Also after I read your words, I called Cameron and I thanked him for being so tender with me this morning. He tried to deflect my reflection of him. I brought the conversation back to my gratitude to him simply being him. He opened his arm and received my words.

Thank you.

Julie July 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Julie, You are welcome. It’s a wonderful project, isn’t it! I can totally see you writing many words about loving-kindness, knowing just how big and open your heart is.
And, how lovely you acted upon this revolution of tenderness. I love it. You shared this tenderness with Cameron and he opened to receiving. That is powerful, my dear.

Laurie July 21, 2010 at 12:11 am

This is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this to us. Whenever I hear the word “tenderness,” I always think of Tennessee Williams’ female heroines. Here’s one quote from Cat on A Hot Tin Roof that I think displays this human craving for tenderness:

Margaret: Oh, you weak, beautiful people who give up with such grace. What you need is someone to take hold of you – – gently, with love, and hand your life back to you.

Julie July 21, 2010 at 6:44 am

Laurie, Thank you. I love this: ‘this human craving for tenderness.” And, such a great quote to express it. Lovely to meet you.

Square-Peg Karen July 21, 2010 at 7:22 am

Julie, thanks for mentioning Mahala Mazerov’s invitational – what a GREAT idea!

And thanks for the words here — what a gorgeous, courageous, bold revolution to be part of – love you !!

Julie July 21, 2010 at 8:07 am

Karen, You are welcome. I hope you join the fun. It’s a really beautiful idea, isn’t it! I take it I can count you in for the revolution…it’ll be fun. Tenderness is fun. and beautiful. Blessings, dear.

rebecca @ altared spaces July 21, 2010 at 8:53 am

“I, too, wonder how this might happen, how we shift from tyranny to tenderness.” This line spoke to me. That you question this experiment is wonderful. I don’t know…but it calls to me. It does call.

I’m just finding you today. Lovely. Lovely.

I will admit, however, that this comments page is so small I cannot read it. So, if I’ve mess up…your forgiveness will be deep I’m certain.

Julie July 21, 2010 at 9:13 am

Rebecca, I’m glad it calls. I don’t question the power of tenderness. I do, though, don’t know how it will happen. I only know I have to say ‘Yes’ to it, and when I do the way is revealed as we go. I’m glad you found UF, today. So glad you are here.
I’ve contacted my lovely web goddess about the comment section being small. We’ll fix it right up. Than you. Blessings.

Jennifer Prentice July 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm

When I was young, my mom advised me to “kill (those who I didn’t like or didn’t like me) with kindness.” As an adult, I have recalled those words a number of times when I encounter people who want to condemn or judge me, or, unfortunately, when I find myself condemning or judging others. Now I will also call the word “tenderness” to mind at these times. Thank you, Julie.

Jitendra Mudhol July 23, 2010 at 8:52 am

I loved your post. I am so glad you are bringing this awareness into the world, that badly needs it. Your insight immediately brought to my mind, the tenderness that I see effusing every moment from my guru – my wife. I learned to live by this: “As life is to live, so love is to give” and tenderness is what emerges when one loves. Fully.

Julie July 28, 2010 at 7:55 am

Jitu, Your wife is my guru, too. She is love embodied. I’m so glad you came by to visit the blog and share your feelings with us. Blessings.

Lindsay March 23, 2013 at 10:29 am

I love this fierce loyalty to love Julie, yes! thank you 🙂

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