This concept of softness vs hardness is something that I think about often.
I believe that we need both.
Sometimes we need to approach situations with softness. To me, this means being vulnerable and open with others (and myself). It is to be aware of my breath and my thoughts so that I can respond to a situation calmly.
Other times, we need to be hard. To stand up for what we believe in. To stand firm in the face of adversity or opposition, and speak/ think with conviction. This might mean that we come across to others as unemotional or apathetic, but really it is simply being strong.
The difficult part here is knowing when to be soft and when to be hard.
Consider a time at work when you have had an opposing idea to someone else. Did you approach the situation with hardness or softness? How did you communicate? How did you hold yourself (in regard to your posture, your breath, your voice)? What was the outcome? Would you have approached it differently?
There is a quote from Brenè Brown that I love: “Soft front, strong back, wild heart.”
This demonstrates that you can be both. But as always, it starts with awareness.