Just like me.

I’ve been thinking about what grace means for me. It’s something more than the “courteous goodwill” that comes up when I search for the definition online. It’s more like the psychological equivalent of the “simple elegance or refinement of movement” that defines physical grace. It’s a way of relating to ourselves and others that allows us to live in love.

Grace is what we find when we are able to look at ourselves both honestly and without condemnation. It’s the power that we invite into our lives when we acknowledge our shortcomings without making them mean that we are not worthy of love and belonging.

When we’re willing to love ourselves exactly as we are now, we find so much more power to become the person we want to be. Changing won’t make us more worthy of love, but it will give us more opportunities to create the life we want for ourselves.

When I find it hard to extend grace to others, I like to think of an exercise I learned from the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. “She’s someone who thinks she’s right sometimes, just like me. She’s trying to protect her interests, just like me. She wants to feel good about herself, just like me.” Other people have reasons for their behavior, just like me.

When I remind myself that we share common humanity, we no longer have to stand on opposite sides. That doesn’t mean we agree, but it changes the nature of the interaction when I don’t view the other person as my enemy.

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