I give no grace to myself.
There. I said it. It’s been my reality for the 43 years I’ve been alive. I’ve apologized millions of times for my existence. My competitive nature does not play well with my graceless attitude because I compare myself with others and then give myself a tough time when I haven’t achieved the same. I blame myself for not marrying in my twenties or thirties. I blame myself for not having children or being at the top of my career. I blame myself for my weight and all of my health issues (most of which I can not control). I blame myself for the times when I fell short of my goals and dreams.
I blame myself when I forget something relatively small because I forget that I am human.
Because I am so hard on myself, I tend to really rob myself of grace when others give me a tough time about mistakes. For some reason, ever since I was young, I believed that I needed to be my own worse critic, so when someone else is tougher on me than I am on myself, I raise my level of self-criticism.
I forget that my faith is one that is all about grace. I neglect to acknowledge that God is pouring copious amounts of grace upon me even as I rob myself of the same. While I am generous in grace with others – mostly because that is the way I would want to be treated – I can not gift the same to myself.
Technically, living in my own critical, graceless head is hell because there is a wall between me and God’s mercy. If hell exists, it can’t be any worse than this, I now think to myself.
There have been times in my past when I’ve noticed that my soul is either filled with rage against me or completely empty. My soul has lacked love from me, and now is the time to work on filling up that tank with something positive, not the negative it has become accustomed to.
So today I open myself up to the world of my greatest shortcoming: lacking self-grace. Today, I move towards loving myself, knowing that I will continue to be human and continue to make mistakes. And sometimes, what I will do will hurt someone else – not because I want it to, but because we all overlook others. But now when I make those errors, it’s my call to begin the process of forgiveness, to extend reconciliation not only to neighbor but to self.
This new project of mine can be best summed up in the words of Florence + The Machine’s song “Shake It Out”:
And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Dear graceless heart, it’s time for you to go. It’s time to heal from your scars. It’s time to embrace grace as a way of living.