Gentleness vs. Strength | How to Balance Both
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing is so gentle as real strength.” - Saint Francis de Sales
It might sound odd, but gentleness and strength can coexist. As a matter of fact, it is both of these characteristics that breeds a great athlete.
There is an underlying attitude in our society that gentleness is weak, and strength is what will get you places. We also have a warped idea of what strength really means. Often, we associate strength with physical ability, or even violence and aggression. Strength, in fact, comes in many forms. And gentleness is one of them.
Let’s take a deeper look into what gentleness and strength really mean and how you can use them to give you an advantage both in and out of the ring.
Gentleness vs. Strength
Gentleness is the act of being kind and tender. It creates peace, calm, and contentment. Strength is the ability to do things that require physical or mental effort effectively.
How do they compare with one another? Believe it or not, it takes a lot of strength to be gentle. A person with a short temper who resorts to anger and aggression is not strong at all. Someone who is quick to see the faults in others and is small-minded about anything that is different from their “normal” does not exemplify strength.
A gentle person is someone who is calm and rational in a state of anger. A gentle person is aware of the needs of others and is open to new experiences and ideas. That is true strength.
Balancing the Two
While strength can, at times, be synonymous with gentleness, it also has distinct qualities. Gentleness is sensitive in nature, while strength cultivates resilience, confidence, leadership, and assertiveness.
The qualities of both strength and gentleness are most effective when used together to balance each other out.
A hard personality without a tender touch can cause one to become overconfident and miss out on opportunities to learn and grow. This type of person may also lack empathy and the ability to see the perspective of others.
An overly sensitive person, on the other hand, may not take well to criticism, which can affect their self-esteem and hinder personal growth. These types of people often have trouble standing up for themselves, and easily get taken advantage of by others.
Strength or Gentleness: Which Do You Need In the Ring?
From the outside, boxing might look like a sport that requires unrelenting strength and ruthless perseverance, but at a deeper level, it also requires a great deal of gentleness.
You need to be strong enough to not completely internalize criticism from your coach, but gentle enough to be willing to work on your weaknesses. You need to be strong to be a leader, yet gentle to know when to follow. It requires physical and mental strength to push yourself through intense training sessions, yet a gentle nature to give your body the care and rest that it needs.
As with most things in boxing, these skills are not limited to the ring. The characteristics of gentleness and strength together can be applied to all aspects of your life. It’s a balance that is necessary for success in all areas. You need to be strong enough to withstand the hardships of life, and gentle enough to find peace, contentment, and gratitude even through adversity.
Two Incredibly Simple Ways to Develop Strength Through Gentleness
Balancing strength and gentleness is certainly a fine line to walk along. It requires conscious effort and consistent practice. Here are two simple ways to develop strength through gentleness:
1. Get In Touch with Your Emotions
Being emotional is often stereotyped as weak or irrational while pushing aside emotions and smiling through the hurt is looked upon with glory. It is important to remember that everyone has a breaking point, and when you suppress your emotions for too long, they’re bound to come out.
True strength is when you understand your emotions and know how to use them to your advantage. It’s when you allow yourself to feel, without letting those feelings overcome you. In the world of psychology, this concept is known as emotional intelligence, which is a person’s ability to understand and control their emotions.
In boxing, you have to be very aware of your emotions. Your mental state can greatly affect what you achieve in the ring. When you are in touch with your feelings, you can use that to drive your performance, whether during training or a match.
So, how do you get in touch with your emotions? Simply be more mindful. Be attentive to how you are feeling at any given moment. Whether you feel angry, sad, happy, excited, tense, or anxious, allow those feelings to just be. Notice what is driving those feelings. Then, let them pass.
Understanding your emotions doesn’t mean letting them take over, rather it means understanding them as a truth, and letting them go to focus on what needs to be done. That is the epitome of strength through gentleness.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Another important part of gentleness is how you treat yourself. We have a notion that blood, sweat, and tears equate to success. That, to be the best, we have to push ourselves beyond our limits. Certainly, success doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come without getting uncomfortable. However, there’s more to the equation than that.
How you treat yourself in your journey to become better plays a huge role in your success as an athlete, a professional, a parent, or in any other aspect of your life. During your journey you will make mistakes, you will face failure, and you will get critiqued.
If you’re constantly beating yourself up inside, you’re never going to build the confidence, self-esteem or resilience you need to reach your goals. Instead, if you can brush it off and practice self-compassion, you are more likely to see results.
It can be as simple as reframing the way you talk to yourself. Instead of saying something negative like, “I should never have done that” say something more positive like, “Next time I will do that differently.” Instead of saying, “I’m so stupid I can’t do this” say something like, “This is hard for me, but with practice and persistence I know I can get there.”
Self-compassion is a characteristic of a gentle personality, but in the end, it builds you up to be a stronger and more confident person.
So, ladies, don’t ever think that your gentle nature holds you back. In fact, it makes you strong and capable. And men, don’t be afraid to embrace your gentleness. While it may feel a little strange at first, know that it breeds strength and confidence.
Boxing is a sport that, although looks tough on the outside, requires a delicate balance of strength and gentleness. Head over to Gloveworx and find your balance.