It’s my first time, be gentle
When we see a newborn baby, we say “be gentle.” Or we encounter a puppy or a kitten, our natural response is “careful, gentle.” Or when we see something delicate or something of great value, our initial inclination is to be gentle.
So what exactly does it mean to be gentle. Webster’s dictionary says “to be free from harshness, sternness, or violence. Soft, delicate”
We tend to know innately when to be gentle (when gentleness is called for) on new things (babies and puppies) and on valuable things. But do we know how to be gentle with one another? That’s the question: Can we see that each of us has a tender inside, a valuable core, a vulnerable piece that needs a soft delicate touch?
I’d like to take Webster’s definition and take it a step further. Push it into a more human realm. What’s the definition of being gentle with another person? How about: “to open ourselves and truly see how another is affected by our words, our behaviors, our actions, and then to be soft and delicate with those words, behaviors and actions”
That definition of gentleness requires us to truly see another person (see my Mirror, Mirror blog). To be aware of the tenderness under the rough human exterior. It requires us to be awake to how our own baggage can distort our true desire to be gentle.
So here’s my question: “When was the last time you were truly gentle?” It could be to yourself, to someone else, to some thing. I know for me, I haven’t been as gentle as I’d like to be on many different occasions. And most of the time I don’t even realize I’m being … what’s the opposite of gentle … harsh. That’s a hard word. I’ve been harsher than I could be, than I want to be many times. Wow, that’s an eye opener just writing it.
So be gentle with yourself; with others. Pay attention to who they truly are. If you can truly see the person across from you, next to you, on the other end of the phone or txt, then I’ll bet your natural instinct to be tender will kick in. And the gentler you are, the more tenderness will be returned.
See you on the wire
— Steven Cardinale