Each year I pray for a “word of the year” and my word for 2023 is “Gentle.”
I actually thought it was going to be a different word, however, over the course of the past few weeks it is clear that "Gentle" is my word.
Has there ever been a time when random things happen in your life to confirm your decision about something? That’s exactly what happened to me! I wanted to be sure that THIS was the word for me. As I was preparing to put my 2023 business plan together, I found the task daunting. Although I know the value of doing so, I struggled with planning ahead. I heard God whisper, “Be gentle with yourself.” You see, I often put A LOT of undue pressure on myself which has caused an incredible amount of stress in my life. I know it sounds ridiculous that after all of these years, I’m just figuring this out. I told myself I had to get this task done by a certain timeframe and it was completely stressing me out. I began talking to myself and asking myself questions like, “Why does it have to be done by this time?” “What will happen if it doesn’t get done?” “This is difficult for you yet, you are doing it!” “Give yourself some credit - you’re doing the hard thing.” “Give yourself some grace - you’re going to get it done.” Whew! It was a relief to have that self-talk. Usually my self-talk is much less self-revealing and more self-condemning. This was a huge switch for me!
Then, I went to the dentist and he said that I need to brush my gums more gently. Haha! I even aggravate and put undue stress on my gums!
As I began reflecting on the word "Gentle," I began to see all of the ways I put unrealistic expectations on myself (especially) and on others, as well. At some level, I think I was already aware of this unhealthy habit of mine, yet I had lived with it for so long I wrote it off as “being normal.” As I age I am becoming more aware of how detrimental this behavior is to me and to those around me. For the sake of my mental and physical health, I can no longer tolerate my own lack of gentleness.
Candidly, I seem to be gentle with most everyone except my family and myself. I am convicted that my interaction and my tone of voice when speaking to my husband and son definitely needed some gentleness. I’m working on it. Please pray for me (or root for me)! And, if you see me around town and it looks like I’m talking to myself, I probably am! The self-talk is really helping me manage my unrealistic expectations, calm my disposition and be more gentle with myself. Perhaps it will help you, too? My prayer is that we are all a lot more gentle with ourselves and with each other.
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”
~ Saint Francis de Sales
P.S. Did you know we helped 8 families buy, sell and invest in real estate outside of the Bay Area? We have an amazing network of colleagues all across the country. If you or anyone you know needs a referral, please let me know. I’m happy to help if I can!
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