Gentleness is often perceived as a weakness. We feel everything has to be to the max to achieve. However, gentleness is a superpower, and I will share three ways to bounce back from failures and other life’s detours. As a woman who has endured a lot of ish, I have always been a goal setter—even living in the projects, not knowing if the lights would get paid or if there would be food to eat. I was very driven to reach goals, but I didn’t know about being gentle with myself.
Growing up, I was often beaten for the smallest of infractions and always told it was for my good and that my indefinite terms of being on “punishment” were to help me to be stronger. Instead, it made me feeble when going out in the real world. When I stepped into the world were light years ahead of me in building relationships that allowed them access that I would never be able to gain. I felt if I worked hard, it would speak for itself. That isn’t correct, yes, your work should be stellar, but you will need others to speak on your behalf in rooms you are not in. Reflecting on my 35 years on this planet, I have reflected and felt bitterness and anger bubble. I felt robbed of many opportunities from career, friendship, and love. My good body years were not enjoyed like many in the lapse of luxury but on this hamster wheel of the abyss! Now at this point, one can go into a full-on pity party, or they can pivot into a new direction.
Gentleness is a Superpower: 3 ways to bounce back
As I firmly believe we are the authors of our story, I chose to pivot after allowing myself to feel all the things. We short-change ourselves when we suppress emotions. The need to release is real, as whatever we repress will start to show up in other areas of life. Anger will come up in jealousy, envy, and fear. We have to release, so we are open to new things. If your hands are full, I can’t put money in it.
In my journey of rebounding my life, I had to learn the art of gentleness. It’s not something I’m familiar with. In my life, I am used to blunt and brute force. But, there comes a time in your life journey when you have to acknowledge what isn’t working anymore. It’s the difference between surviving and thriving. The tactics you use to survive won’t allow you to thrive.
I wanted to get a little nerdy when it comes to the term gentleness; per Vocabulary.com, Gentleness is the quality of being kind and careful. The original meaning, from around 1300, was “inherited nature,” but by the 1600s, it had come to mean “freedom from harshness and violence. So to extend gentleness with yourself means to be kind and careful with yourself. Careful means being mindful, calculated, and kind, having a tender, considerate, and helpful nature.
Understanding what a word means can help break from any mental or emotional hangups on how to apply it to your life. Now fto3 ways to bounce back by using gentleness in your life.
1. Learn to observe without reacting
So let’s say you’re trying to find a new job because you got laid off. Instead of beating yourself up for not being locked to your laptop all day, you observe your actions and pivot. As I have been home due to my layoff, I have napped a bit and done creative things instead of the norm desperation of job searching.
By doing this, I have noticed I’m more focused when looking for jobs, and I have also seen opportunities coming to me. My energy has shifted as I don’t feel like I must take whatever scrapes out there. Allowing more ease in my life will enable me to be at my optimal level. Being reactive especially harshly wounds your inner being and causes unnecessary pain.
2. Take care of your whole self
Back in my 20’s, I felt I didn’t need to go to the doctor or that I didn’t deserve rest. So I would go days without sleeping and eating properly because I had goals. This led me down a very vicious path of burnout and unawareness. I was breaking down but couldn’t stop the ride I was on because I was bulldozing myself down.
No matter how much you have gone through, you are deserving of gentleness. You deserve to be treated with kindness and mindfulness. Often how those closest to us have treated us sets the standard for how we will treat ourselves. When you are met with rudeness from those who love you and care for you and fail miserably, you may believe that you aren’t worth the energy. This will lead you into destructive behaviors if you don’t have other people to pivot that energy.
Take time to shower, sleep in nice bedtime wear, and enjoy things that will help your future self, like working out and doing your medical checkups. Plan downtime and enjoy activities that you want. This will help you to persevere when life gets hard. Too much salt will lead to a bitter life, and too much sugar will give you diabetes. You need to balance to bloom.
When you rip a comb through your hair while it’s wet or dry for my ladies with my kinky hair what happens? You tear your hair up leaving a trail of damage. The same can be applied to your life. When you try to rip yourself you inflict trauma. Being gentle in both instances will allow you to keep things at optimal levels.
3. Release people and ideas that are harsh
I will end on this point, but it will be something that isn’t easy. When you have been accustomed to people and hold beliefs that enforce you have to be a bully to yourself to get things done, it’s not easy to undo. For the longest time, when I worked out, I talked to myself horridly. I wouldn’t ever allow anyone to talk to themselves or me the way I spoke to myself.
Failure is all relative. Some don’t see failure but as an opportunity to pivot. I see failure as what it is, which is not reaching a specific desired outcome. That could be not hitting a weight loss goal within a particular time frame or hitting those career or business goals. Failing to me means one has gone outside of what is familiar, and therefore the potential for things not going to plan is highly probable. When you meet failure with gentleness, you can be kind, see the positive, and carefully reflect on how you can improve! You can’t perfect what you never create!
Gentleness allows you to have another chance and a fresh start. It’s not easy to be gentle in a world that always glorifies rudeness or keeps it real, but those things don’t do anything but keep you stuck in a negative mental loop. Even if you do push yourself and hit a goal, you won’t even be able to acknowledge the sweetness of success because of all the bitterness.
I hope this post was helpful, as, in 2021, it’s time to live more mindful and more prosperous lives, which means working from the inside out to live more satisfying lives! Let me know if this resonated with you and how you will be more gentle with yourself.