I spend a lot of my time thinking and writing about the things that make me happy, the things that cause me heartache, and the things that I can improve on. Reflecting on these things has allowed me greater insight into what, at least for me, makes up a fulfilled, peaceful life. So, I got inspired. I thought I would start a blog series on the things that I think will lead you to a happier outlook on life. We’re going to call this series The Cornerstones of a Happy Mindset. I can’t wait to share them with you.
What exactly does that word mean? It gets thrown around in conversations, and I hear it all the time. But, until recently, I’ve never really thought much about what it means to me.
However, what I do know is that I, so often, lack grace, and I need to focus on it and define it for myself.
So, here it is. Grace is forgiveness. It is the acceptance of others’ faults, of your own shortcomings, of things you cannot change, of the difficult, impossible situations that come your way. It is extending love, humility, and understanding towards those around you. And it is vital to experiencing a content, happy life.
The most important form of grace that we experience is, of course, from our Heavenly Father. There is no other form of grace more complete or more perfect. I, in no way, shape, or form, can practice grace on such a level. I would never even claim to try. However, what I can do is take that most perfect example of grace and focus on that as a cornerstone of my personal mindset.
In thinking about that, I had to ask myself: How can I depend on God to extend His grace to me, and never consider the many ways that I lack grace? I couldn’t come up with an answer for that. So, I had to be honest with myself about where grace was missing from my life.
This is a place of honesty, so I’m going to be open here. It is truly hard for me to be graceful. I don’t think it’s something that comes naturally for me, like it seems to in so many people that I admire.
It is so much easier to hold onto grudges, justify my own behavior and attitude, and get mad when I don’t feel like being considerate. And, it’s hard and uncomfortable to confront my own mistakes and faults. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to do things that are hard and uncomfortable. When you can’t confront your own stuff, it’s certainly easier to point out and hold onto another’s.
Here’s the plus side, it’s something that is totally fixable. What I’m trying to do now is keep grace in the forefront of my mind. My hope is that by focusing on the idea, I can, in fact, become more graceful.
Perhaps I’ll be able to be more accepting, and hopefully I will become more centered and at ease. Maybe I can become more forgiving and carry myself with a bit more love and dignity.
One thing’s for certain, turmoil fights hard to take center stage in our lives, but we can’t let it. We have to be able to find peace and acceptance, strength and humility in the midst of the chaos.
That’s definitely easier said than done. But, it’s possible. I have seen and felt a change within myself since I’ve started focusing on the idea of grace. I want to share some things that I like to do to help me find that poise and strength.
1. Pray and pray often.
2. Spend some quality time with yourself. Not Netflix time, quality time. For me it’s reading, writing, thinking, and reflecting on how I’m living my life and affecting those around me.
3. Surround yourself with people who encourage you and make extending grace so incredibly easy.
4. Keep the word in your mind. Doodle it, focus on it, make a note on your phone. It makes a difference I promise.
If you focus on being graceful and extending grace towards others, it will absolutely improve and strengthen your own sense of happiness and fulfillment. I just don’t believe that we can go through life being totally self-centered and expect to be truly happy. We were created to be connected.
One more thing- I want to reemphasize something I said earlier about grace. You have to grant yourself some too, and it’s just as important as extending it to anyone else.
Recently, I’ve been really beating myself up over some things, and it was making me so unhappy. I couldn’t get past mistakes that I made and would fixate on them to the point where I felt so defeated. Then I realized, if I want grace to be a key focus in the way I live my life, it has to apply to me too. I have to make an effort to forgive myself and find some understanding and acceptance for things I just can’t change. And so do you.
I hope that by sharing my feelings about grace, I’ve connected with you in some way or made you start thinking about your own cornerstones. Please share with me what you consider attitudes or ideas that are keys to a happy life. I’d love for you to join the conversation!