I remember “grace” coming up from time to time in church and wondering who she was and what she looked like. I couldn’t conceive of grace as a concept but I liked the smooth, polished sound of the word, and imagined Grace as a lovely bestie of Eve or Mary. Grace is a sublime name for a woman, but it’s also a word with a myriad of interrelated definitions that transcend beyond the religious realm and into our everyday lives. Of all its lovely meanings, this morning I’m considering grace in terms of our willingness to show ourselves self-compassion.
Do you show yourself grace in this regard? Most of us are able to give others grace. We forgive a date who shows up late for dinner, we tell our coworkers they deserve to take a two-week vacation, and we allow girlfriends to have a bad day (or a week or month!). But are you allowed to fall apart? Are you kind to yourself when your cookies burn, you lose your keys, or you’re harshly judged at work? If you’re like me, giving yourself grace does not come easily!
Why it is so hard to give ourselves grace?
I feel like Perfection is a massive grace-block. Keen to show the world we are in control of our lives and worthy of gold stars, we run full speed ahead and throw grace out the window. We feel like unless we push ourselves to the max, we aren’t living up to our potential or manifesting our drive and determination. We’re raised to give 100% all at times; consequently, it’s hard as an adult to feel like it’s okay to give 75% in any part of our lives without feeling like a total slacker! Like other positive attributes, it’s awesome to be a go-getter, but it’s no bueno when your drive doesn’t allow for mistakes or permission to treat yourself with kindness or self-compassion.
The important of grace hit home yesterday afternoon after a crazy day with Baby Flynn. After slipping on a poppy-colored bikini, I grabbed my goggles and raced to our apartment’s pool to rinse off the sweat and dried spit-up caked on my body. Jumping into a cold body of water is hands down my fav way to jolt my system and reframe my perspective. As cold water ousted my angst from newborn milk outbursts and car seat woes, I recognized my brutal treatment of myself since a frustrating 2am feeding. On a subconscious level, I’d allowed my inner critic to deride my lack of productiveness since that time with small yet unkind barbs.
Why can’t I find just an hour to write?
Why is the house constantly a wreck—how hard it is to keep it tidy?
Other women work from home right now with multiple children—why am I finding it challenging to take care of one tiny human?
How have I not found time to return emails and text messages?
Why do I feel so exhausted from being a new mom? It really isn’t that hard.
Above all, I’d allowed my thoughts to assess my new role as a mama and found myself seriously lacking. I felt it should be so easy to take care of a mini human. I thought I should be killing it like a woman out of a 1950s film who greets her husband in heels with their baby quietly cooing in the background. But swimming laps in the early evening sunshine, I suddenly caught my inner voice in her unfair judgements.
“Hang on, I’m doing my best!” I declared to the bottom of the pool.
“You’ve never been a mama before and there’s a massive learning curve involved here. Why should I be mastering this already? Isn’t it okay for me to experience postpartum meltdowns like other women, and for my hair to be a mess? I don’t need to be the idolized, phony version of a wife and mother. I can be myself—flawed, disorganized, and sometimes teary—and that is more than okay.”
And the same goes for you, too! Consider this article as your free pass to treat yourself with self-compassion. Because the truth is, you deserve grace—and not just once in a blue moon. You deserve as much self-kindness and self-love as the people you value the most in your life, regardless of how hard you sometimes fall and how caked-on the baby spit or how dreadful your work or school reviews. We are all trying to make our way through life and giving ourselves grace is a tool to ensure we are taking good care of ourselves.