January 10    

Today's quotation:

Gentleness is a divine trait:  nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing so gentle as real strength.

Ralph Sockman

Today's Meditation:

We tend to have a mistaken idea of what gentleness means.  Many of us think that it's a sign of weakness, that gentle people are not as "strong" as people who refuse to show gentleness with others.  Gentleness, though, is a sign of a strength that surpasses mere physical strength--gentleness shows the stronger side of the human being when we're willing to treat others gently.  It shows that we don't need to show force to accomplish important objectives; force is, ironically, a common sign of weakness, as the person who resorts to force often simply isn't able to think of other ways of dealing with things.

The people whom I've witnessed being gentle with others have been more helpful in the long run than those who refuse to be gentle.  Gentleness, of course, is a long-term strategy, while the purpose of force is to create immediate, short-term change.  Gentleness is a sign of the presence of compassion, a sign of great respect for others:  people, animals, and plants alike.

Yes, there are those who will take advantage of your gentleness, but they aren't our major concern.  Our concern is the good that we can do for others, and we want that good to last, don't we?  If we're not gentle, things can break--be they break physical, emotional, or spiritual.

I can think of a few times of danger and stress when gentleness may be the least effective approach we can take, but those times come few and far between.  Our gentleness in our daily lives, though, can help humanity to create a kinder and gentler world--but it has to start with us.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people equate gentleness with weakness?

What are some specific strategies for showing gentleness to others?

What positive results of gentleness have you witnessed in your life?

For further thought:

Gentleness means recognizing that the world around us is fragile, especially other people. It is recognizing our own capacity to do harm and choosing to be tender, soft-spoken, soft-hearted, and careful. When we are gentle we touch the world in ways that protect and preserve it.  Being gentle doesn't mean being weak; gentleness can be firm, even powerful. To behave in a gentle manner requires that we stay centered in our own values and strength -- that we are active rather than reactive. Coming from this center, a gentle word or touch can channel our energy into healing or making peace.

unattributed, Wisdom Commons

more on gentleness



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