Gentleness Despite Hurt- What Does Work

Gentleness Symbol

Picture Collage by Helen


Yesterday’s post described what does not work with Gentleness.

There are many, many, many temptations derailing gentleness. Especially when unearned blame—what Counselor Carl calls my “core issue” is hurled my way. Especially when, even when they are not blaming,  people are harsh.

But some people are harsh. It is their default response.

“When people get emotional, they become accusatory and start blaming,” G. Richard Shell, Wharton School of Business.

How can I be Gentle despite hurt? Here’s what’s working for me in my fourth decade of Gentleness workouts.

(But not obsessively.) What we resist often becomes the thing that tempts us (don’t eat the cake/don’t eat the cake/can’t believe i ate the cake). Resist with detachment or observation.


Guide thoughts of fighting back, running away, etc…back to breath. Breathe in Firmness. Take a deep breath and remember the real goal.

Sometimes, Because of Grace, this pause is enough to quell the other person’s attack. I have seen and experienced people stop in mid-tirade when I quiet myself. Sometimes pausing to breathe brings enough clarity to me and I do not reply to the email or respond to the phone call.

Sometimes, I just say “Ouch.”

Nowadays, in the quiet wake of the incident, I tell God my honest feelings about the people involved.

My friend, V and I used to do this for each other. We would call and say, “I am going to vent for 3 minutes and I want you to love me through this and then say “__________” at the end. The blanks often were filled in with “you did the right thing,” “i can’t believe so-and-so did this!” “Bravo” and other variations since our Junior High friendship days.

This approach really worked for me in my twenties and thirties.

But my focus now is a gentle response beyond venting. A better way toward gentleness, I am finding, is to vent to God. I do not leave anything out. He has the biggest shoulders and can carry everything and the hurt I feel from every person. Wearing myself out, if needed, while telling him everything…

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. Psalm 6:6

Love. Practice sending love to those who are abrasive. Recognize they are losing a battle of self-control. Love and pray for healing for them and healing for the place where their pain bleeds to me. I pray for my own heart to heal. I admit I struggle to pray for the other person and at the end, then ask God to bless him or her.

 “Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it” 1 Peter 3:9

Have you struggled also with responding with gentleness, especially when you are hurt?
Would you comment here and share? Sure would help me :)
To Read Today: What Does Gentleness Look Like?
Tomorrow: Crowdsourcing Gentleness

Day 21 Be Gentle Be Love

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