I’ll teach you all about gentleness. It’s one of the most important skills for healthy relationship…even with yourself. Most of us don’t do this naturally. Most of us have internalized a harsh, critical voice that is the exact opposite of Gentle. Then we go about believing that voice and just doing life according to it’s opinion of us.
Are you unconsciously living according to the judgment of your harshest critic?
I like to call this harsh Critic Nasty Voice. If you don’t know this about me yet, I usually choose names for things that are straightforward and self-explanatory. But others have named this same voice other things. Could be the Driver, the Critic, the Monger, (as in fear monger) or the Manager. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. What matters is that the voice is not actually HELPFUL.
Common denominator: harshness.
News Flash: Harshness is the opposite of Gentleness.
What’s wrong with harshness, you ask? Doesn’t it help you survive, prevent you from becoming a wuss, or a lazy, lame, do-nothing slug? That’s what you think! But it’s not actually true.
At one time it was protective. You developed this voice and approach to life because you thought it would help. Good thinking, kid-brain. Truly, good job. Our young human brains come up with pretty sensible adaptations to get us through life. But you are older and wiser and smarter now. You have the ability to see that the trouble with this line of thinking is that eventually harshness does more harm than good. And WE are the ones doing the harm. To ourselves!
You don’t have to.
You do not need to “beat yourself with the stick of gentleness.” Don’t do it. Put down the stick.
Be Gentle with Yourself
You don’t have to beat yourself up to “get results.” On the contrary: wise adults know what truly helps. Start with this:
Become aware when that critical voice is speaking (or just driving you under the surface.) That’s it. Just notice. It’s the first step to adopting a different, more HELPFUL way. (If you know nothing else about me, by now you know that HELPFUL is one of my favorite concepts.) For now, just notice how active that part of you is. Next we’ll look at how to be truly gentle with yourself. This is a skill that you can learn.
Gentleness: Here’s HOW to do it
Once you’ve located and noticed your Inner Critic, Nasty Voice, Manager, or Driver here’s how to truly get gentle with yourself:
- Name her (or him) anything that is NOT you, preferably a name you dislike.
- Speak lovingly but firmly (we’re not starting a fight with that part) and say “ Hey, ____NAME, I don’t need your commentary right now. You can go sit in the corner. I’ll let you know if we want to hear from you.”
- Go about your business and cultivate your encouraging voice.
That’s it. What seems hard about that?
Being Gentle starts with Being Encouraging
Here are examples of encouragement: “it’s okay. You can do this. You are going to be alright. I won’t leave you. I’m right here. You’re a very strong person. It’s safe for you to be yourself now. It’s good to be human. I like the way you’re made.”
That’s just for starters. You’re creative; I know you’ll come up with some additional great ones specific to you!
Let me know how it goes. And let me know if you need support. We can work together in a group setting, or one on one. If you’re having trouble being gentle after infidelity, this group for women whose partners have cheated might be just the thing.
Once you have the skill of gentleness in your tool kit, you’ll also be able to use it in your interactions with other people. That’s coming up in a future post, so stay tuned.