I hear all the time to have Grace, and to show people Grace, but sometimes I get confused on what that actually looks like.
I was listening to the Rise Together podcast last week, and Rachel Hollis shared something she heard at a wedding ceremony about Grace that I thought was very helpful.
She said, “Grace is giving someone the opposite of what they deserve.”
I think this is such a simple and easy-to-understand definition of Grace.
Once I heard that definition I thought of three ways in my own life that I can be better at giving Grace.
Giving Grace to myself
Asking for others to give me Grace
Giving Grace to others
Giving Grace to myself:
I started a journey a little over a year ago of trying to give up coping mechanisms that have served me for most of my adult life. Some of these include drinking alcohol, perfectionism, working too much, not staying still, eating poorly, and shutting down.
This journey has been tough and it seems like every time I take two steps forward I end up taking five steps back. I’ll have a glass of wine that I know I shouldn’t have, or I’ll eat a big piece of cake and be sick for days. When I mess up it’s easy to beat myself up, have negative self talk, and throw myself a pity party.
However, none of these things help me and I know instead I should give myself some Grace.
If I think I should beat myself up and then give up – then the opposite of what I think I should do is be understanding with myself that I’m learning, appreciate that change is hard, have patience with myself, and get back up and keep trying.
That’s what giving myself Grace should look like.
Asking for others to give me Grace:
I know I’m human, and I’m going to make mistakes, both for myself and with others in my life.
These mistakes, or missteps, can cause other people close to me to be upset or even hurt without me realizing it.
Before when I would make someone upset by accident, my quick response would be to get mad right back at them. How could they be mad at me when they know I had good intentions? I wasn’t trying to upset them on purpose!
But getting mad back at them is not Grace. I need to do the opposite of what I think they deserve.
Instead, I’m learning to look inward at my own actions before reacting so quickly.
Maybe I need to admit that I made a mistake and ask them to give me Grace as I learn to navigate relationships. When I can own my mistake and we can talk it out, our relationship only gets stronger instead of weaker or more distant.
Asking for Grace is hard, and oh-so humbling, but in the long run it’s better for me and my relationships.
Giving Grace to others:
I admit that when I get my feelings hurt by someone my first tendency is to withdrawal. Some people might lash out, hurt them back, or get even – but I always withdrawal away from them and think that by not interacting with that person they can’t hurt me anymore.
But what I’ve learned about Grace, doing the opposite of what I think they deserve, is to not withdrawal but to lean in closer and keep trying. I ask myself how I can show up in the relationship differently and how I can show up with Grace and compassion.
Maybe I need to have a hard conversation with that person about how I feel? Or maybe I’m being overly sensitive and need to look at myself and my own relationship tendencies. Giving Grace to others is a choice, and one that takes a lot of practice!
Thinking about Grace in this way – as the opposite of what I think I or they deserve – has been very helpful to me.
However, doing the opposite of what I want to do is not easy! I have to slow myself down, ask myself a lot of questions, and react in a way that does not come naturally.
How does Grace show up in your life? I’d love to hear what you think on this topic. I’m hoping I can continue to strengthen my relationships with others and myself through learning to use Grace as much as possible.