Severity or Tenderness?

Severity or tenderness?

Severity or tenderness?

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the significance of tenderness versus severity and a simple 3-step process to prevent you from speaking words you will later deeply regret.

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Now, let’s talk about the significance of tenderness versus severity and a simple 3-step process to prevent you from speaking words you will later deeply regret.

I don’t know when to start or when to stop
My luck’s like a button, I can’t stop pushing it

My head feels light but I’m still in the dark
Seems like without tenderness there’s something missing

Where is the
Where is it?
I don’t know where I am but I know, I don’t like it

I open my mouth and out pops something spiteful
Words are so cheap, but they can turn out expensive
Words like conviction can turn into a sentence
– Excerpt from the song “Tenderness” by General Public

How often has every one of us said something hurtful or spiteful for which we have later felt deep regret?

How often has every one of us said or written something which could not be taken back, for the bell had tolled and it was now impossible to remove the sound of that pain caused to the other person?

Usually, our automatic response, unless we are somehow enlightened beings, is one of severity – blame, anger, resentment, judgment, and so forth.

The ‘enlightened’ or evolved response is one of tenderness.

The dictionary defines tenderness as gentleness and kindness; feelings of deep affection; devotion; warm compassionate feelings.

A response of tenderness involves understanding and compassion; an intention to solve, heal and understand, to deepen the bond and connection versus creating greater separation by expressing severe emotions and judgments.

“A man must at times be hard as nails: willing to face up to the truth about himself, and about the woman he loves, refusing compromise when compromise is wrong. But he must also be tender. No weapon will breach the armor of a woman’s resentment like tenderness.” – “The Mark of a Man” by Elisabeth Elliot

It takes great wisdom to know when one must be tender and when one must stand firm, free of compromise of one’s values, morality, principles or standards.

It takes great wisdom and life experience to know which emotions and which approach is appropriate for each occasion and situation.

Couples who have been happily married for 40 and 50 years will always tell you that one of the keys to their success is that they choose their battles wisely. (Read my article about people who have successful marriages and thus know what words to speak – “The twelve most important words you will speak”.

Just yesterday, a client had an extraordinary transformation and breakthrough in his relationship when he was able to finally communicate and respond with tenderness to his wife’s harsh words. Each time that she was severe to him, he was severe in return; this was destroying them individually and as a couple. It was damaging their soul and psyche; it was weakening them mentally and emotionally; it was making them physically ill.

Constant criticism, hatred, resentment, blame and anger cannot create love or revive the love; it can only destroy it.

“When death, the great reconciler, has come, it is never our tenderness that we repent of, but our severity.” – George Eliot

s he began to express tenderness, understanding and compassion to her, in front of me, he saw her transform. He saw her soften, he saw her soothed and reassured.

For more than thirty minutes, she was lashing out in pain, writhing in torment for perceived rejections, hurts, disappointments and losses. She was crying out in pain and fear.

And yet, her husband stood strong – like a lighthouse in the powerful storm with the waves crashing. He stood strong because he did not react to her; he let her have her storm and he responded with calmness, tenderness, reassurance, kindness and gentleness.

She was in pain, severe pain, but all she needed to heal was tenderness.

At the close of the session, both of them had changed; both of them had greater appreciation and understanding for each other.

For the first time, there was real love between them – there was tenderness!

As George Eliot (pseudonym for 19th century English author Mary Anne Evans) wrote: at the end of our life we will regret the times we behaved severely; we will regret not having expressed more love. I believe that at the end of our life, we will not regret what we did, but rather what we didn’t do – the love we held back or failed to express. George Eliot defines that love as the expression of tenderness.

Below is a simple but powerful formula to system to use to express more tenderness in your communications. You can use this same 3 step process even in business communications:

1. Wait for 24 hours
Stop. Wait for 24 hours or even longer before responding. The more critical and significant the situation, event, challenge or communication, the more critical it is too wait longer.

You can state or let the person know that you would like some time to write from the heart or to ponder and give full respect and consideration to the person and situation

2. Evaluate yourself
Consider what you truly feel; question your own motives; question your role, your involvement and what you want now. Analyze the situation from all angles and perspectives. Above all, get clear about who you are and why you are experiencing certain emotions and judgments. Accept full responsibility for your actions. The goal is to awaken to the insights into yourself and the other person; to realize what is about you and what isn’t about you.

3. Wait again
After you have written your response, wait one more hour. Ensure that you feel you have spoken your truth and that you are not playing games or manipulating the other person or situation. Let it come from your heart.

“My dad’s a beautiful man, but like a lot of Mexican men, or men in general, a lot of men have a problem with the balance of masculinity and femininity – intuition and compassion and tenderness – and get overboard with the macho thing. It took him a while to become more, I would say, conscious, evolved.” – Carlos Santana

Finally, always make a conscious and deliberate effort to understand the other person and express compassion and tenderness; that alone, will help free you.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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