What is Grace and How Can It Help Me?
I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. ~ Anne Lamott
The word grace has been popping up in my world a lot lately. It’s become a buzzword that I’m seeing in articles and quotes all over the place. When I see something enough times, I start paying closer attention and asking myself some questions - What does this mean? Where does this come from? Why does this keep coming up? How does this pertain to me?
There are a multitude of entries in the dictionary when you look up the word ‘grace’. It’s both a verb and a noun. The origins of the word being used go back as far as the 13thcentury BCE and perhaps even further before things like word usage and origin were being tracked. As a verb, grace is closely linked to gratitude. Incorporating gratitude into your daily life has been shown to reduce stress and improve your mental health as shown by this study from the NAMI and these studies explained in more detail by Harvard Health.
Looking at the other definitions of grace as a noun, we find the idea of divine intervention by either God or an unspecified higher power as a popular usage of the word. The two definitions that I think best embody the way I’ve currently seen the word ‘grace’ used are: mercy or pardon; and the disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency. In particular, it seems that bestowing this kind and courteous behavior and pardon upon ourselves is the idea behind cultivating grace in our everyday lives.
There are so many ways that we push ourselves to do and be everything, all the time, to everyone in our life. Learning to embrace the idea of grace can give us a tool to create the space to make mistakes and the ability to forgive ourselves and others when we don’t quite reach every goal we’ve set for ourselves. Viewing ourselves and others through a gentler gaze that incorporates the tenets of grace can help us to find ease in life and a beautiful sense of self-acceptance.