Try Softer (book review)

I first heard of Aundi Kolber on an episode of The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill. But it wasn’t until I heard her book Try Softer mentioned on a different podcast that I took notice.

I finished the book today. It’s one of those that after you’re done you think, “I could have used that information a long time ago.”

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

Chapter 5, Boundaries Bring Us Life

Kolber is a licensed professional counselor in Colorado where she’s been practicing since 2009. In Try Softer, she utilizes her own trauma, training, research, Scripture, and client’s stories to illustrate what she means by trying softer. My paraphrase, trying softer is practicing gentleness through life rather than white knuckling it.

People who are aware of and know how to attend to their feelings are truly awake.

Chapter 8, Try Softer with Your Emotions

One of Kolber’s continued messages is to understand you and everyone around you is on a journey. She takes the first five chapters to examine that “process of becoming.” They include research about the brain, a look at the importance of early relationships, the value of boundaries, and a definition of your window of tolerance.

Research shows that taking longer to exhale than to inhale signals to our nervous systems that we are safe, stimulating the vagus nerve. Both help us stay in our window of tolerance.

Chapter 4, Too Hot, Too Cold…Just Right: Finding Your Window of Tolerance

Most of my highlights come for the final five chapters where Kolber offers ways to practice trying softer with your attention, body, emotions, internal critic, and resilience. All ten of the chapters end with exercises and questions to get you started in trying softer. If that sounds overwhelming, each time she reminds you to take your time with them, maybe even note them for later work.

It matters that leaders, parents, and pastors are aware of their own wounds and do their own emotional work.

Chapter 6, Try Softer with Your Attention

Many of us may get tense just thinking of the idea of trying softer. I think Kolber’s statements about surrender sum up how valuable this approach and mindset could be. In the final chapter on resilience, these two thoughts encourage us to take a step toward surrender.

This is what I mean when I talk about surrender: it’s feeling safe enough to release our grip…Paradoxically, when we choose surrender for the right reasons, it empowers us.

Chapter 10, Try Softer with Resilience

My spirit is boosted after reading Try Softer. I invite you to check it out and give yourself a boost to end the year.


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