gen·tle /ˈjentl/ : Mild in temperament or behaviour; kind or tender
There are people in this world who are truly gentle and it is a quality that takes my breath away. Gentleness seems to come from deep within an individual and is exhibited in a level of calmness and confidence that only gentle folk can master. It subtly hints at strength, whilst offering whisperings of love.
However, gentle people seem to be few and far between. The stress of modern day living and the pressure we put on ourselves to do well has meant that people have become accustomed to ‘toughing it out’ and putting on a front to prove ‘everything is fine’. We are encouraged to ‘harden up’ and ‘get over it’ and to refrain from revealing our emotions to others as it symbolises weakness and an inability to handle life. As a result, when people cross our paths and offer love and tenderness, it almost comes as a surprise. It is an infectious quality that leaves us wanting more.
What is it, then, that constitutes being gentle? After much contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that being gentle means being open to vulnerability: being honest with ourselves and accepting who we are entirely. When we are at peace with ourselves and don’t feel the need to hide behind a thick exterior we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and open to warmth, love and connection to others. I don’t know how many times in my life I have shut myself off from those around me, building up a wall of resistance just to prove that I am strong and resilient and can ‘do it alone’. Deep down, however, all I really wanted was the gentle touch of a hand on my arm signalling that everything was going to be alright.
Today, there seem to be a rising number of gentle men and gentle women crossing my path. I accept that this may simply be a coincidence. But I also like to think that it is possibly because I am allowing myself to be vulnerable and open and consequently receptive to the gentleness in others. Either way, I have taken kindly to gentleness. It is an art I practice daily making everything seem so much softer and light and I urge you to do the same.
Dedicated to all the gentle souls in my life.