Live By Grace, Not PerfectionSeptember 17th, 2019 by Carla Porter White
One way to impact daily happiness is choosing to live by grace rather than perfection. Grace is the practice of giving kindness and understanding in situations in which it is not deserved. It is not based on merit or worth. It is given despite a wrong or a mistake. When you do this, it not only impacts your happiness with yourself, but with others.
To live by this mindset, begin by adjusting your expectations of yourself. Expect that when you perform to the best of your ability, your optimal level is synonymous with being imperfect, not perfect. Accept that there is no way to avoid failing in something or making a mistake. A professional football player practices and trains every day, but on game day – he might still fumble the ball. Be mindful of using language about yourself that is understanding rather than overly critical. When you are putting the dishes away and you break a glass because you are moving too fast, you say to yourself “mistakes happen when you rush” rather than “how stupid”. Remember, mistakes or failures are a small part of your total self, so keep them in the right perspective with who you are overall. Finally, spend your time focusing on how you can fix what you have messed up rather than spending too much time being mad at yourself. It will help you to move forward rather than feeling overwhelmed with disappointment.
Another way living by grace impacts your happiness is through your relationships. When grace leads you, your defenses are down and you are more understanding of feedback from others. Your co-worker points out that you did something wrong and you can then accept that you, a human that makes mistakes, may have made another one. Your partner says to you, “wow, that was rude of you” and your thought can be “hmm, maybe it was”, because it is not impossible that you could say something in a way that you did not intend. Accepting this fact can significantly decrease the number of disagreements you have.
Finally, accepting your flaws allows you to accept other people’s. You realize that people make mistakes and most of the time, they are not trying to mistreat us, they are simply operating in their humanness. With this mindset, you can forgive a friend who changes his plans to meet for a dinner (for the second time) because you know what it is like to make a mistake and you know your friend is not perfect.
This may take a little while to get use to, but you will see the results sooner than you think.
About the Author
Carla has over 10 years of clinical experience working in private practice and at a university as a mental health counselor. She specializes in treating anxiety, depression, relationship challenges, and grief. She can be reached at 708-955-0171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.