Giving yourself grace

Written by Ann Harder

“I was going to get up early to exercise before the kids woke up, but I was exhausted and overslept.”

“I was going to keep my composure when my husband did not do what I asked him, but I yelled at him and picked a fight.”

“I was going to get out my sewing machine and make 100 masks for my neighbors, but I ended up spending 5 hours helping my kids with their homework.”

“I was going to make a perfect meal and have the perfect family movie night, but my kids started fighting and complained about the food and the movie choice.”

We are all trying to make the best of difficult circumstances. We do not know how to feel normal or be productive. We feel like we should have so much extra time to do things, but everything seems more difficult to accomplish. The result is that many of us feel guilty, torn, frazzled and out of control. We could all use an extra measure of grace.

Recognizing these feelings might be the best place to start finding grace in our daily lives. We do not have control over Covid-19. We are anxious about our jobs. We are grieving the loss of our perceived control over our lives and grieving the loss of normal life.

Let’s give ourselves some grace.

HopeNet therapist Lauren Hill-Harris stresses the importance of being kind to yourself and pausing to ask yourself: Do I deserve grace? Do I deserve the same kindness and grace I would give to a friend? She also says that giving yourself grace means admitting that you have needs. This often requires us to stop and take a pause. We must slow down enough to be silent for a moment. What are your needs right now? What can you do to address those needs?

Let’s start by readjusting our expectations. If you feel like you are “failing” every day, take some time to evaluate that feeling. For most of us, we set our expectations too high, thinking we can accomplish more than is possible in one day. We have all been forced to restructure our everyday systems of working, shopping, cooking, cleaning and entertaining. It is truly exhausting, and our minds and bodies are tired. Use this time to allow yourself to set smaller expectations and make smaller lists. And give yourself some grace.

If you are finding yourself consistently not accomplishing your daily goals, it might be time to scale back. Either the night before or first thing in the morning, ask yourself: What is today’s priority? Make it one thing. It will be hard, but see if you can get it down to a single priority for this day. Reset your expectations for this one thing.

Hill-Harris says this comes down to respecting yourself. Respect your own humanity and recognize that you are subject to forces that are out of your control. And, like everyone in your life that you are supporting, loving and assisting, you also deserve care and grace.

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