History is largely an account of the brutish, the aggressive and the brave. From pre-cave days to today’s hostile corporate takeovers, aggression and force have their role in society. Might makes right. That’s why it is a miracle that somewhere along the way we figured out there is a better way. Somehow, we came to revere the opposite of brutishness and coercion, we came to appreciate qualities like kindness, love and consideration. We even coined a term for it, we called men who weren’t brutish: Gentlemen.
Gentleness is underrated and we could stand to think about that word today. We tend to associate it with weakness or softness but, the truth is, we could all stand to be a little more gentle with one another. You don’t have to watch the news or scan the internet for very long to find coarseness, it is everywhere. If you doubt that, cut someone off in traffic, you will probably not get a gentle reaction.
I got the word “Gentle” in a morning meditation last week and since then I have been focusing on it, being aware of my own choices in reactions and relationships. Being gentle doen’t make you less resolute or more passive, it just makes you kinder and more understanding. In business, we could stand to back off the phrase “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Nope, business is personal and our politicians, our corporate chiefs and each of us could stand to do business from a more gentle place. What does it avail a man to gain a fortune and lose his soul? Being a person who seeks win-win solutions to problems is probably someone that more people will work with, not less.
If you want to create a more gentle world, you can’t have protests, flash mobs or write letters to the editor. As Ghandi said, “Be the change you seek in the world.” If you want more kindness, understanding and love in your life, look within. At least that is what this gentleman is going to do.