Gentleness – Character Creates Opportunity®

As we continue on our journey to be our best for those we care about most, the topic for today is a principle that gets little mention in today’s “loud and proud” environment. When we call roll for those who have delivered lasting, positive impact in our world, in our communities, and most certainly in our homes, there is a common virtue among them that is tough to find in the intensity of our world today.

The quality of gentleness or “strength under control” as the more practical, relevant definition continues to be an effective behavioral anchor in dealing with relationships in the complexity of life today.

If I polled the readers of this blog, I am confident we could all give a few solid testimonies about when we “lost it” in a relatively intense or even seemingly routine interaction with a family member, coworker, or friend. We occasionally blame our response on the hectic commute across town, a stressful day at work, the loss of the big game, our finances, the weather, etc.  However, we all know we fell short in demonstrating strength under control. We most likely took a big withdrawal out of the proverbial “relationship bank account” and needed to work extra hard making deposits into the future if we wanted to repair the relationship.

Maintaining gentleness in today’s world is not easy. The real-life situations of dealing with an unruly child while hustling to get ready for work, an irate customer call just as “normal business hours” have passed and the daycare is closing, the spouse who just seems oblivious to the situation you are struggling to get through, or the aging parent who does not realize her limitations are all situations that put our gentleness to the test. It is not easy to maintain strength under control, but it is well worth the effort.

There are several positive outcomes that we can all expect by demonstrating a greater degree of gentleness or strength under control in our interactions with others:

  • Gentleness has been shown over time, either through time-tested philosophers or academic research, to be the more effective method in strengthening relationships and sustaining positive behavioral change compared to the typical “loud, proud, and loss of control” technique we all so quickly adopt.
  • We will quickly replace the regretful thought of “oh, I should not have acted that way” with the cherished memory that we did the harder right, rather than the easier wrong, and more times than not, maintained a productive connection to continue the relationship on another day.
  • Our example will be “watched” by those around us, and whether we ever see it or not, others will be positively impacted by our actions.

We should all strive to have strength under control and model the principle of gentleness. As a result, we will continue to make steady progress on building and strengthening our character, and Character Creates Opportunity for us to have a positive, lasting impact in our relationships.

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