"Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul." William Hazzlitt

People are trying their best, most of the time. Give them grace. That applies to us as well - we deserve the grace that we give to others. If we hold that to be true then that changes the way that we interact with others. Instead of a place of hostility, judgement, and criticism, we get to respond to people with compassion, empathy, and kindness. When we slow down, take a second to breathe, and hold our tongues before responding with haste we create a chance to do something significant - give grace. It's that one moment of pause that makes all the difference. Pausing breaks up the breakneck speeds at which we communicate, or rather talk at one another. Pausing disrupts the instantaneous replies that we have formulated in our heads, it sidetracks the pending rebuttals, and it forces us to be fully present take in what someone has shared with us. Pausing forces us to be there, and to listen with the intent to understand not just to respond. It takes serious practice, but adding a pause to the rhythm of conversation, letting a moment of silence hang in the air, gathering thoughts becomes a mark of purposefulness instead of hesitation, conversations change. Give grace to be open to learning, learning from others, and learning about yourself. 

Give people grace when they hurt us. It's often not about us. People often are emotionally illiterate and have yet to learn the language of themselves, so their pain, hurt, shame, etc. manifests itself in hurt, harm, rudeness, passive-aggression, and more. Giving grace let's us hold off on responding to hurt others perpetrate the way they have hurt us, and challenges us to question why someone might behave this way. What is this person going through? Why does this seem out of character? What else is going on for them? It's not a free pass to absolve others of their impact, because people must take responsibility for how they show up. It is an opportunity to demonstrate extraordinary kindness in a moment when someone may desperately need it but does not know how to ask for it. When people push us away, that's when we need to be vigilant to draw them near instead of let them go. There are so many reasons why people are not being their best, giving space for people to elaborate, or to just be is powerful. Letting them know that you hear their frustration, hurt, embarrassment, etc. and know they aren't communicating effectively is a meta acknowledgement that can help people realize the way they're coming across. When we take that crucial split-second to remember it's not about us, we get to greet people who are red hot with a benevolence, contentment, and tranquility that goes directly up against the heaviness thy are unloading. 

Now more than ever I am striving to empower people to help themselves. People often come to me for advice, ask for my help, or want me to spend time processing through things with them. I enjoy helping people, and being with them when they need me, AND by not teaching people how to come to their own aid, I am doing them and myself a disservice. People are more capable than they realize but don't realize it unless confronted by a situation where they are tasked with relying on themselves. I have the ability to put people in that situation, and support them as they try it out. Reflective questions to empower: What advice would you give yourself, if you were me? How have you tried to resolve this issue? Who else have you consulted? Did you listen tot their advice? Am I the best person for this, or just the most convenient? What outcome are you looking for from this?

People usually just have not stopped to be still, think, and troubleshoot. Before I come to save the day, how about you take a crack at saving yourself? People can figure themselves out if made to do so. When people don't know what to do or are missing part of what they might need, that's where I come in to share my perspectives as supplemental. Showing people they can trust in themselves especially to remedy difficult situations let's them know they too are worthy of grace they bestow upon others. It's a realization of self-assurance. I want people to be interdependent just as much as they are self-sufficient. 

It often takes speaking truths aloud to make them real. The more people confide in me, the more that sentiment gains weight. People are desperately seeking someone to listen, to hear them, to understand them, and someone to care about them - if even only for a few seconds. How powerful it is to be entrusted with someone else's truth. What an honor it is to be witness to someone being brave. What courage it takes to give life to the things that rarely see the light of day. It's in the light though that things become not so scary. Strive to be that person. Be there with people, and be there for them. So much of it is time. Making time. Giving time. Focusing your time on another person is a selfless act. It's having that room to breathe and that time to be that people can struggle through saying what they need to say. I don't know is what we say right before we say something we really do know. It's the precursor to a breakthrough moment. I don't know is a reminder to proceed with caution but not to stop. Ask follow up questions, use prompts that illicit responses, and take people there. People stop themselves because they are worried what others will think of them, others will pull away, or that they can't do it. Reassuring people that you're with them gives that extra boost of confidence to follow through, and to follow through. Give grace, and know that people are giving it their all, but it takes time. Let it do so. X


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