What does it mean to live with grace?

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The Merriam Webster dictionary defines grace as both a physical and intangible quality, as an ’ease or suppleness or movement’, as well as a ‘disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy or clemency’.

According to the first definition then, to be graceful is to move fluidly, without any awkwardness or resistance. And according to the second definition, to be graceful is to assume a benevolent demeanour.

There are so many instances in life wherein we feel as though we are pushing against the tide, grace, being the furthest from our agenda. 

We relentlessly strive for perfection, taking our frustrations out on the people around us when we fall short. Envision and aspire to realities different to that which we have in the present, believing that, with that job, that partner or that job title, we will be happier, more comfortable, and more at peace. 

But the thing with grace, is that, it demands vain resistance to the circumstances in life to be relieved. The psychological guards and barriers held up in the face of anxiety, to be lowered. And the complete and utter surrender to what is and what will be. Just as a long distance runner succeeds in consistent smooth, short paces and breaths; a ballerina reaches prima after years’ perseverence, and a swimmer excels after learning to glide against the current, grace demands harnessing this commitment in all areas of your life. For instance, in your approach to others and the challenges you face throughout life.

Refraining from snapping at your sibling when they ask the same question multiple times, listening intently as your friend shares what’s on their mind, and doing the dishes on your day, even when you don’t feel like it, are small, yet significant ways in which you can nurture the grace, peace and love you want to see in your life. In order to reach true prosperity, grace is required on a social level, in applying empathy in interactions with colleagues and leaders whose behaviour you may not completely understand. Acting compassionately at every opportunity, and, consistently, staying true to your values. Maintaining self-discipline in the face of attractive, yet destructive temptations.

And indeed, living with this kind of grace is infectious, emanating into the lives of others. Ever spoken to someone with a calm, level, focused disposition and walked away feeling somewhat refreshed and unburdened? In a world so fraught with anxiety, depression, anger, fear, and confusion, there’s more than enough room and reason to embody the change we want to see. To be a peacemaker of your generation. 

Of course, while each of us as individuals may only have three or four meaningful interactions on a daily basis, if we applied grace in our lives collectively, the impact would be world changing.

Fanciful? Perhaps. But possible nonetheless. What does living with grace look like to you? Comment your thoughts below.

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What does it mean to value your time?

Time

We have all heard the saying that ‘time is precious’, but what does it look like when the ideology is manifested in one’s reality? The majority of people know the obvious forms of time management. Going to bed at a reasonable hour so that they can wake up early for work; planning their days in their diaries or their heads so that it is extra productive, and planning activities and events in advance for memorable and stress-free experiences.

Following the basic principles is great, as they will determine, to a certain extent, a successful and joyful life.

However, can you imagine the control and command you would have over your life if you, near literally, did not let a minute go to waste? Of course, you have to be realistic and allow for a certain degree of spontaneity. Nevertheless, with more effective time management than is standard, you can ensure that each area of your life is nurtured, and, you will allow yourself to get within better reach of true fulfilment and balance.

Valuing your time in the workplace could look like keeping your phone switched off, so that you can fully focus. It looks like listening to, and fully taking on board, feedback, rather than letting your mind wander. Looking at what appears to be setbacks or failures, from an outside eye, as a learning experience, a moment that facilitated growth. It can look like using your reflections to propel you into making more informed, aware, steps, instead of moping and dwelling on the negatives.

In relationships it could mean not staying in, nor tolerating, situations in which you are being disrespected, unappreciated or that do not help you to grow. If you are single, valuing your time could mean being thoughtful in your approach to finding a partner. Having enough self-awareness to assess if another person would be a good fit for your values, personality and lifestyle. As many people know, early signs of incompatibility could lead to conflict later down the line.

In terms of your health, it could mean maintaining discipline in your fitness and your diet. Making it a priority to go running, dancing or maybe spinning, week-in and week-out. Dedication to packing a healthy lunch the night before, time and time again.

And what is the end product of sustaining awareness towards each area of your life? The equivalent in success, surely. While you do not need to plan your life down to the T, it is good to know that, usually, in making conscientious choices, you can truly steer, take the reigns, of your life. 

Taking ownership of, and making the most of, your time, then, seems to be what it means to value it.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.