Be Gentle

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

Saint Francis de Sales

I’m doubling down today and combining my Word of the Month with a new illustration. What inspired my young woman was a photograph someone saved on Pinterest – for the sake of a wedding dress. As I pondered what came to mind when I looked at her, the first word I thought of was “femininity.” 

I love that word, and the meaning of the word (and I truly wish that I was more feminine sometimes, haha), but I didn’t want my post to remind you of the ongoing debates on gender. That’s the last thing that I want to talk about. 

So, thoughts about femininity reminded me of the word nurturing, which then led me to my chosen word for February: Gentleness.

If there’s one thing that the world needs more of right now, it’s gentleness.

Gentleness is being mild mannered, kind, and soft. A Biblical definition I found was showing care and respect for others in the way that you act and speak. The opposite of gentleness is harsh or severe.

In social psychology I learned how certain circumstances can drastically change a person’s behavior, for the worse. One of those is being in a crowd. A person who might normally be gentle might also be seen shouting, fighting, throwing things, or even destroying property when they get caught up in the crowd. The reason behind the change is that they feel less “personally” responsible, because “everyone else is doing it too.” The other thing is the anonymity—you’re less likely to be recognized in a crowd, so feeling anonymous also feeds into the “crowd think” scenario.

Anonymity also plays a major role in internet behavior. People feel anonymous behind the screen, and they prove everyday how harsh and severe a person can be when they’re feeling anonymous on the internet – just look at social media. I’ve often wondered, when I’ve seen the nastiest of nasty comments on Twitter (or wherever), does that person talk that harshly face to face?

What I’ve been thinking about lately is the whole “mask” thing with COVID. Where I live, masks are still required in public places, and it seems to me that the anonymity of the mask ushered in a whole new wave of harshness and severity. And, sadly, there are days when that includes me. 

I have caught myself speeding through the grocery store, practically knocking people (and their carts) over, in a hurry to stock my cart and be first in line. I’ve also been aggravated with checkers for being too damn slow. I’m not sure it’s because I feel anonymous though—I think it has more to do with wanting to get outside to take the damn mask off so that I can breathe again—but I’m pretty sure anonymity plays a role. Or maybe it’s because we don’t get to see smiles as much. Smiles can be contagious, and that benefit has disappeared behind the mask… along with gentleness.  

So that’s my word and what I’ll be focusing on this month… being a little less harsh and severe and a little more gentle. 

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.”

Saint Francis de Sales

About the Image

I created the gentlewoman in Illustrator and used a photograph for the background because I wanted her to be surrounded by something real. Then I took it over to Photoshop and added an oil paint effect so that the whole piece would look more surreal. I don’t know… just something different.

A Little Note

I enjoy adding quotes to my posts, but I decided today that I’m not going to get all technical and search the internet for hours trying to find proof of who actually said them. I’ve done that before, several times, and I ended up traveling a bit too far down the rabbit hole. What I’m trying to say is that I can’t guarantee the credits that I give, and – honestly – does it really matter? That being said – don’t quote me. Haha!

Thanks for reading. I hope you found something interesting, useful or enjoyable here!

Until next time,

Peace & Love!


  1. That’s a wonderful image, well done! Masks are still the rule here in Las Vegas and Nevada which sucks, but I have to wonder if the day will ever come when we can stop wearing them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John! That’s what I’m wondering too, and that might be one reason I’ve misplaced my gentleness. I’m like alright already let’s get on with life and stop running this thing into the ground! It’s beyond ridiculous. That’s my two cents. Be well my friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s nothing more beautiful than the shape of a woman, and few things more repulsive than masks. Love savouring’ smiles and doubly love those with the courage to show both halves of their faces. Now, about those curves!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t comment very often, but I do have to affirm you for the poetry, the artistry and the creativity of your posts. You are unique among a sea of bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is full and rich, J! Your artistic talent always makes me wish I could do that too, hah! The mask issues continue…I try to use my eyes to smile at folks, and if possible engage them in a few words…because I hate that we’ve lost something so enriching about recognizing people, validating/honoring their presence in the world. I’m a talker, so I guess I can’t stop, haha. Today I told a woman in the store that I loved her hair–she had tons of it (and I’ve got bald patches)! And then I turned around to insert myself in a conversation between a young man and other strangers in the DOL line–regarding how short the line was, we’d all come at just the right time. Sending you lots of love, from Z!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thanks Z!! And I’m glad you are one of the friendly maskers lol! I talk to people a lot too but often get caught up in a non-gentle mood haha. Much love to you!! 😘😍🥰

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  5. This is fantastic! I love the effect you’ve achieved with the mix of Illustrator and Photoshop. Your illustrations are always beautiful! As for the mask issue, the Government here in England finally saw sense and relaxed the mask mandate last week so we no longer have to wear the stupid things. Hopefully the rules will soon start to become relaxed where you are as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Stuart! I appreciate your comment and compliment. Good for England! I hope 🤞 things let up here. Some states here are more relaxed but my county here in California is ridiculous. Anyway… thanks again!! Have a great weekend 😊

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  6. Love your image, Janet. The woman exudes femininity with that dress. Gentleness is a perfect word to bring to light these days! Sending hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post. I think a lot of the issue is that as a society, we are grieving. The loss of freedoms, the loss of what was normal, the loss of closeness, etc. I believe many people are stuck in the anger stage. I have certainly noticed a shift the last couple of years towards people being much harsher and more rude/annoyed in general. This is a great reminder to be more gentle. Your illustration is beautiful as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joe. Very insightful comment, and I think you’re right. Grieving is definitely something we are doing. I hadn’t thought of it like that. Honestly I think I was in the denial stage for at least a year and now I’m finally starting to see how much has changed. Anyway, thanks again… love your perspective.


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