Grace is defined as “the exercise of love, kindness, compassion, mercy, favor; disposition to benefit or serve another”. “Courteous goodwill, to do honor or credit to someone or something by one’s presence”.
For some reason lately the word grace seems to be appearing frequently in my life. When this happens I have learned it means I need to pay attention and spend some time delving more into what is going on. If I don’t pay attention it will keep cropping up in my life, haunting me, until I take a good long look at it. After I fight the life lesson being tossed in my face (I do not always learn these lessons easily), I will say Universe what are you trying to teach me and get ready to go. As Brene Brown says I “lean into the discomfort”.
My guess is many of you reading this have felt this way.
I also know that while my personal growth probably will be uncomfortable and not pretty something really good is going to happen.
So let’s look at grace.
As I take some moments to pause, ponder, and reflect it makes me think that grace is one of the ever so powerful, subtle qualities we tend to overlook.
Seems the characteristics in people that get positive kudos are ones that are outgoing, charismatic, perhaps loud. Individuals who are quieter, reserved can be referred to in a negative light. Shyness can be bad, introverts keep too much to themselves, and people who rarely speak are weak.
We forget that silence can be golden. That valuable, lessons learned can be delivered in a gentle, soft, graceful way.
Have you never noticed that sometimes when a person is talking to someone who speaks a different language they talk louder? It does nothing to help with the communication. It is just loud.
Sherrie Campbell wrote an article “The 10 Qualities of Exceptional People” for Entrepreneur.com. She listed grace as the number one quality. Yes, GRACE. She defined being graceful is to be “strong and assured who one is and to move gently within that energy”.
I am very much an introvert. I get my energy, calm, grounding from spending time alone, reflecting and working through all of the chatter going on in my head. In the world around me I am outgoing, communicative. I used to talk too much, I used to listen too little, I used to ignore the quiet, reflective, powerful statements of those around me who had so many awesome things to say, yet were delivered in a much different manner.
One day I had enough of what I was saying (and while I can be mildly entertaining and the things that happen in my life are pretty funny) and decided to listen more. To EVERYONE, including those people whose grace I had overlooked. By closing my mouth and opening my ears a whole new world became available to me. Not only did I learn and absorb powerful, beautiful, stories and life lessons my own grace began to grow.
Karen Swallow Price said that “the human impulse to create and find meaning is a gift of grace”. I think she is right.
The funny thing is as my grace, my kindness, my compassion began to expand other qualities followed. I felt more confident, less anxious, more grateful, more living in the moment. I no longer felt the need to talk as much, control as much. I let so much go and it felt so good! Freedom and peace of self is a force of its own.
I cherished hearing the stories of others and learning so much from the people around me. As I was feeling more of the potential and possibilities in myself I was also seeing more of the potential and possibilities in others. My trust of self was reflected in my trust of others. Grace is quiet, calm, steady and powerful.
Grace under pressure is the true test for ANYONE. In situations where you need to lead, diffuse, calm, and connect because people are upset takes grace to a whole new level. Yet in reality you are using the same skills you are using everywhere else. Grace is grace regardless of circumstance. You are calm, breathing deeply, carefully listening, not being defensive, understanding why someone feels the way they do, empowering, clarifying and caring. Grace isn’t grace because of where you are. Grace is grace because of who you are.
Guess what people. It is time to get your grace on. Time to tap into your grace, your strength, your gentleness, kindness, courage, and compassion. All of these qualities are already residents of your spirit and soul. You do not need to develop them. They need to be located, dusted off, and put to use.
Begin by listening to yourself. If you feel you talk too much, interrupt too much, and don’t listen enough stop talking and start listening. If you have something you want to say and you are afraid to say it, say it. If you feel the urge to do a kindness for someone else do it. Take a pause, be still, and listen to the life lesson the Universe (or whatever spiritual force you believe in) are wanting you to learn. Have grace for others, yet most importantly have grace for yourself.
You so matter to this crazy thing called life. The world needs the grace, compassion, kindness, courage only you can bring. Let it begin with you and then gracefully spread onto everyone around you. You can be the change you wish to see in the world. I just know it.