There’s lots of talk these days about resilience: the need for kids to be able to bounce back from challenges.
The picture we get of resilient kids is that they’re tough. But I know lots of adults who I would describe as resilient, but not tough. Instead they have a gentleness about them. They bring peace and pleasure to their friends and family. They’re gentle, but strong. And that’s the gift I’m unwrapping today. How to be gentle without being a walkover.
Gentleness is about not forcing your way in life. Gentle people make others feel appreciated. Let’s be clear that being gentle isn’t a weakness, it’s an asset.
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So if you’re already a quiet, caring person, that’s good! And if you’ve beaten it out of yourself because you thought it was a bad thing, open the door to it again. Bring back the best parts of your gentle nature.
As we count down the final days before Christmas here’s ten tips to help you craft a more gentle spirit this holiday:
1. Be sure of yourself. Own your own nature and preferences. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself or letting the opinions of others hurt. Develop a confidence in yourself that won’t budge.
2. Respect your kids. There’s a lot of power at play in families that we don’t always see. Not recognising how much power you have as a parent makes it hard to have a gentle relationship with your kids. Find ways to show them that you respect their ideas and their efforts. Ask their opinions and talk about the attitudes beneath them in a respectful way.
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3. Work out what things really matter. Be willing to let go of the small stuff that can just distracts. There are lots of challenges for families living together but they don’t all need to matter. Many of them we can see as difference.
4. Think about how you say things. Gentle people don’t shy away from telling the truth, but they do it with some thought about what words they say and what tone they use.
5. Put yourself in their shoes. When you’re able to see things from the perspective of another person, you often understand their passions and opinions. Dropping your own assumptions to do this is a gentle way to live.
“A gentle response diffuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” – Hebrew proverb
6. Appreciate what you have. Satisfaction in life, contentment, encourages us to be more gentle.
7. Accept that you don’t know everything. I’ve mentioned before that we all need to approach life as a learning journey. Where we gather new knowledge and understanding each day. Some things that you thought were facts can often turn out to be someones opinion dressed up as a truth.
8. Master the pause. When faced with a tricky situation, most people either jump in with their first response or hang off all together. A gentle person takes the middle approach, using pauses to buy thinking time. There’s no rule that says you can’t think about what you’re going to do and leave people to sweat for a while.
9. Know that there are some things you can’t change. It’s not about resigning yourself to situations but accepting them. People who cope well with the challenges of life tend to accept change as part of being alive. They look for ways through and around it.
10. Look after yourself. Deal with stress. Give yourself space to sort through all the things racing through your mind. It’s hard to be gentle when you’re mind is overthinking things.
Remember gentleness isn’t about being passive or weak. It’s about having a level of self-control that contains your emotions and responses. Being a gentle person is about being kind and caring. Gentleness is about slowing life down enough to listen and observe what people need.
Article supplied with thanks to Rachel Doherty from Tweens 2 Teen. Rachel helps those living and working with young people, through supervision, coaching, speaking and consulting.