We live to make perfection an attainable goal. We work tirelessly in our careers, faiths, and personal lives so that we may one day graduate from “diamond in the rough” to 'certified and polished'. Naturally, we want to maintain an immaculate reputation, but what happens when we relax and a flaw becomes visible? Before we second-guess our purpose and demean our capabilities, let’s consider extending grace to ourselves.
One of my favorite quotes from my pastor is “mercy saves us from what we deserve, grace blesses us in spite of what we deserve.”
Maybe you were late on a paper but your teacher gave you an opportunity to get it in without penalty.
Maybe you were short a substantial amount for your groceries and the kind cashier stated that she'd cover the remaining amount.
In more ways than one, grace uses kindness to lift us up when we’ve hit rock bottom.
Regrettably, I can’t recall how many times I’ve done that for myself. Once I make a mistake, miss a deadline or act out of character, I immediately critique myself to no end. While it’s important to reflect and recognize our faults, it takes positive reinforcement to reverse them.
In the thick of our despair, I challenge us to encourage ourselves. Yes, we may have missed an opportunity for something, but what’s for us will not miss us. Sure, we didn’t exercise our potential on that assignment, yet we’re still competent, we’re still an asset and we’ll prove it next time. Extending grace to ourselves isn’t an excuse to dismiss our skeletons, it’s a hand that provides light in our darkest closets.
We can’t change what’s already been done, but we can use our experiences to make wiser decisions. There’s no secret formula to this method, it just takes a believing in ourselves and knowing that we can try harder next time.