The Strength In Gentleness

So for some reason, I’ve been writing a lot about my “no-poohair experiment lately. And now I’ve gone even deeper into this experiment, as I’ve begun doing something called water-only washing. In essence, I’ve completely stopped using any thing on my hair other than water, baking soda, eggs, and apple cider vinegar.

Big deal, right? It’s just hair. But by making this change, I’ve noticed some other things start to change as well.

Snuggly Bunnies (Image from herwordskill, Flickr Creative Commons)

Mostly, the way I’ve always treated my skin suddenly started to feel sort of harsh. Hot showers suddenly feel way to hot. The Neutrogena foaming face wash that I’ve used for years suddenly seems overly drying. The Body Shop body washes that I used to love just feel like they have one too many chemicals. Now that my scalp is being treated differently, the rest of my skin seems to be calling out for something different too. I’ve been playing around with the most natural soaps I can find, and using natural oils like jojoba and lovely essential oils as well.

I feel like my skin is calling on me to be more gentle with it, and I’m finding that they more I heed the call, the better my skin feels, and the better I feel. It’s like the old Hermetic, mystical saying, of “as above, so below” and “as within, so without.” The gentler I treat my skin, the more I seem to find gentleness within.

There is such a beauty in gentleness, and I think it’s a quality that we often forget. Who are we gentle with, other than babies, and maybe ourselves and others when we’re injured or quite ill? Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could cultivate more gentleness?

Imagine being gentle with yourself when you’re late for work. How might you feel differently or plan differently for next time? Imagine being gentle with yourself when you overeat at dinner. What might you learn from that experience, and how might you treat yourself later that night or the next day? What if you were gentler with your friends, your kids, your coworkers, your partners? How might things shift and change in your relationships and within you?

I see a strength in gentleness. It takes strength to be kind to yourself and others, to listen, to flow with what is rather than resent that what is isn’t what it should be. Cultivating gentleness, to me, doesn’t mean ignoring other, potentially less gentle emotions. It just means deciding, when possible, to go a little easier on ourselves and others than we might otherwise.

Does this concept of gentleness appeal to you? Is there a place in your life that is calling out for more gentleness? Let me know what you try and how it went below and/or on my facebook page!

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

6 replies on “The Strength In Gentleness”

Gentleness is something that is so hard for me. I tend to be a critical and often harsh person. I’m working on a lot of things with my therapist/counselor and we’re working with the Byron Katie model and since then I’ve realized a lot of the negative thoughts that I had towards others, I was also simultaneously having about myself. I still get frustrated and angry, but when I’m feeling those emotions I try to not censor myself and not channel it inward. I let the anger take its course and when its over, when I’ve vented, I find myself feeling a lot happier than when I tried to hard to bottle it up and contain my rage.

I think gentleness is hard for our society as a whole.  It’s hard to be kind and less judgmental to yourself and others.  I use the Byron Katie model a lot in my practice too.  It’s  good stuff!  It sounds like the work you’re doing is great.  It takes practice to make these sort of changes, so kudos to you for working on it.

Oh man, I love this! I started making my own body scrubs because my skin was feeling awful after using regular body wash/soap/etc. just using kitchen ingredients and essential oils (I figure if it’s okay for me to put IN my body, it’s ok for me to put ON my body), and wow, what a difference.

I am going to be meditating on this “cultivating gentleness” thing for a while now. Thanks for the thoughts, Golda.

I found that when I started eating healthier foods, the overwhelming shame and guilt about overeating or indulging vanished. I have always been very hard on myself, especially when it comes to how the world views me–physically, or in less tangible ways. Changing how I communicate with myself and using a more gentle approach has done wonders for my overall confidence and happiness.

I’m sure the boost in mood due to getting more vitamins and minerals was also a big help!

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