It’s like that virus at your kid’s school: It’s nasty, it travels quickly, and you can do everything possible to avoid it short of Clorox-ing your actual skin, and yet somehow, it gets you.
Kinda stinks, right?
And tell me this: Why is it so easy to stew on those nasty words when they catch up with us?
Why do we replay them in our heads? Re-live the hurt they cause us? Hit repeat on that chorus of negativity, as if it even deserves any space in our hearts, let alone dominating it?
Because it’s easy, that’s why. And if you’re anything like me, that broken record can feel downright oppressive sometimes, and begin to dominate your inner dialogue.
It became clear to me recently that I needed a way to deal with this negativity. Because as much as I wish it would stop popping up all around me, it won’t.
So I started telling myself a simple mantra every time the hurt or anger crept in, and it goes like this: Give it grace.
It’s that simple.
A deep breath, a long pause, and a heaping pile of grace.
And I invite you, friends, to use that mantra right along with me. Dole out that grace heavily and frequently. Early and often. Because you know what? It works.
In times of hurt, in those moments when you want to meet others’ judgments with anger; in the times when you’ve been dragged down for no reason; in the times you’ve felt provoked by gossip or hurt by someone’s words; before you clap back or snap out or push away? Give it grace—if not to the people who hurt you, then at least to yourself.
It’s not perfect, but man, it works.
Giving grace doesn’t mean you’re a chump, or that you’re dumb. It just means you’re smart enough to save your energy for what matters. It means that you can take a lemon and make a little lemonade. It means you’re growing through the pain—taking something bad and molding it into a step to lead you up and away from the crap.
So yeah. Grace. It can help you move on like that.
Because here’s the thing: It wasn’t about you; it never was. The negativity doesn’t come to you because you deserve it. It came to you because that’s just how our world works sometimes. You don’t deserve it, no, but you can grow from it. And while those words may not calm your inner critic or make you feel any less hurt by someone else’s words, I hope they at least arm you with strength. Because that’s the beautiful thing about grace: It’s always there for the taking, and for the doling out. (It’s kinda cool like that.)
So here’s what we do, friends, the next time we are on the receiving end of pain—whether it comes from someone else’s words or actions or our own: Feel hurt. Find grace. And move the hell on.
Deep breath, my friends. Grace will get us through this, too.