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Gentleness is a personal quality which can be part of one's character. It consists in kindness, consideration and amiability.[1]

Aristotle used it in a technical sense as the virtue that strikes the mean with regard to anger: being too quick to anger is a vice, but so is being detached in a situation where anger is appropriate; justified and properly focused anger is named mildness or gentleness.[2]

Gentleness is not passive; it requires a resistance to brutality. Gentleness does not submit to tyranny, but it responds with a tender awareness of others’ experiences and pain.[3]

Bryant McGil suggested we act with gentleness when we release ourselves from our wants and want from others, such as wanting others to mind read us, have their attention, expecting continued agreement and always pleasing us; “When you focus on want, you become an endless cycle of wants. To get, simply release, and then gently invite.”.[4][5] We feel we know more about what we like about our partner, and make effort to know more about it.[6]

A second important usage was common in medieval times, associated with higher social classes: hence the derivation of the terms gentleman, gentlewoman and gentry. The broadening of gentle behavior from a literal sense of the gentry to the metaphorical "like a gentleman" applicable to any person was a later development.[7]

For certain he hath seen all perfectness. Who among other ladies hath seen mine: They that go with her humbly should combine To thank their God for such peculiar grace. So perfect is the beauty of her face that it begets in no wise any sign Of envy, but draws round her a clear line Of love, and blessed faith, and gentleness. Merely the sight of her inakes all things bow: Not she herself alone is holier than all: but hers, through her, are raised above. From all her acts such lovely graces flow that truly one may never think of her without a passion of exceeding love.

— Sonnet: Beauty Of Her Face, by Dante Alighieri[8]

Most recently, the late philosopher and psychoanalyst Anne Dufourmantelle wrote in her book, "Power of Gentleness", that Gentleness was, above all other things, a force of potentiality. Gentleness, she argued: "Is an enigma. It is taken up in the double movement of welcoming and giving, it appears on the threshold of passages signed off by birth and death. Because it has its degrees of intensity, because it is a symbolic force, and because it has a transformative ability over things and beings, it is a power."[9]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "Gentleness".
  2. ^ Garrett, Jan. "Virtue Ethics: A Basic Introductory Essay".
  3. ^ Tabib, Mia (November 2, 2020). "Tabib: Gentleness is a force". Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  4. ^ McGill, Bryant; McGill, Jenni Young; Maraboli, Steve (2018). Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life. Amazon Digital Services LLC. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  5. ^ Weber, Brandon A. "Sci-fi and fantasy readers may be more romantically mature, study finds". Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  6. ^ Vicelich, Marianne. "5 things all healthy relationships need, according to an expert". Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  7. ^ Lewis, C.S. (2001). Mere Christianity. San Francisco: Harper. pp. xiii. ISBN 978-0060652920.
  8. ^ Alighieri, Dante. "Sonnet: Beauty Of Her Face". Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  9. ^ Dufourmantelle, Anne (2018-03-06). Power of Gentleness: Meditations on the Risk of Living. Fordham Univ Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-7961-6.