Updated: Jul 28
Imagine a world where grace can be found anywhere. We make mistakes, we're super imperfect, but we get up after a fall like a ballerina would in a beautiful classical performance—because the show must go on.
Grace doesn't come easy to those of us that struggle with perfectionism, ambition, or criticism.
The good news is that we can all access grace when we equip ourselves properly. If you're ready to grow in grace, this is for you.
What Grace Is Not
Grace doesn't mean that we celebrate failure or approve mistakes. It's not about responding in an inauthentic way.
Being graceful doesn't mean that we're naive about what's actually happening. Grace is not an avoidance tactic.
A graceful person is not necessarily someone that's naturally optimistic or idealistic. A graceful person won't linger on disappointments or unfortunate situations, but they also won't respond with a superficial saying or attitude to brush things off.
Thinking of Grace in a Practical Way
In order to fly, a butterfly needs both of her wings. She needs balance and harmony to move both of her wings and glide through the wind.
What can a butterfly teach us about grace? Well, we can learn that in order to fly we have to take a leap of faith when the time is right.
We can also learn that in order to fly we have to be willing to use what we've got in unity, not fully knowing how the journey will unfold.
In your mind's eye, take the image of a beautiful butterfly. Each wing represents an essential element of pure grace, which is what keeps you flourishing despite setbacks.
Introducing the Butterly of Grace
I thought of the Butterfly of Grace metaphor recently, years after going to a mindfulness class where we talked about self-compassion. One of the wings of the Butterfly of Grace is indeed mindfulness and the other is self-compassion.
I realized that although these two concepts may come up in the same conversation about living well, they are not often talked about as the elements of grace.
As Brené Brown said, we take the path of purpose rather than shame when we have grace. Without shame, there's no condemnation, and therefore we get to live more abundantly.
So, let's think about it backwards a bit. In order to have grace we need self-compassion that allows us to be like trusted a friend. Something that can help us nurture self-compassion is the awareness of the present moment with intention, curiosity, and no judgment; this is what we call mindfulness. When you combine mindfulness and self-compassion, when you make them work as one, you get the Butterfly of Grace.
Put it Into Practice
I want to encourage you to be mindful of how you talk to yourself when you make a mistake or fall short of something.
The thing about how we talk to ourselves is that we're always listening. This self-talk then ripples outward to how we talk to those we love and the people we encounter in our journey.
If you're dealing with discouraging perfectionism, intense ambitions, or harsh criticism to yourself or others, think of the Butterfly of Grace: one wing with mindfulness and one wing with self-compassion.
The Butterfly of Grace might tap you on the shoulder to proceed with gentleness.
You then become aware of what's going on in your body and mind, realizing the depth of the physical tension and how your thoughts are serving you.
You're curious about this experience and think of it being purposeful.
You then feel more inclined to treat yourself or another person with care and consideration. The load feels lighter.
You are meant for grace.
So, how will you apply the Butterfly of Grace?
Wishing you the best in your journey of discovery,