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Practicing Graciousness


Graciousness. Something we may not think about a lot these days.  A lot of other qualities have come to displace grace, and sometimes grace is even seen as submissive, or as an enemy of strength.

I’m here to tell you that graciousness is the epitome of strength.

After a few trying weeks, I’ve thought about graciousness quite a lot.  In all that has happened, I have been thinking about how unexpected life can be and how the only control we really have is how we handle ourselves.  Showing graciousness in the presence of irritation, or adversity, or hopelessness, isn’t that the face of strength?

It’s so easy to think about the big picture and forget about the day-to-day when it comes to grace.  There was a moment in January when a popular magazine columnist advised a reader to ‘practice her graciousness’ when she has to deal with abrasive people at work. Now, the columnist didn’t say, “be gracious”.  That would be too over-arching… too abstract to use in everyday life. But, practice being gracious.  What a thought.

I took this idea to practice immediately.  I had some flight dilemmas and instead of showing visual irritation to a gate attendant (which is what I normally would have done), I literally said to myself, “use this opportunity to practice your graciousness”.  Like practicing free throws or painting.  Just practice it. Following the gate agent incident was the robbery in Palm Springs, then a few other super frustrating, want-to-throw-in-the-towel moments in Atlanta.  I reminded myself at each junction to practice my graciousness. What would graciousness look like in this situation?

This has clearly had an impact on me.

I’ve started thinking about it this way: survival in life using grace and courage means that we own our actions and choices are ours – not governed by the people who surround us.  We choose how to react and we choose grace.  The funniest part is that using graciousness in my recent dilemmas has made a world of a difference.  The aforementioned gate agent did everything she could to help me after I showed no signs of fluster.  A few people I met in Atlanta while at my most frustrated moments turned out to foster major networking opportunities – all because those were the moments I was in full force practicing mode.

Practicing graciousness has been a constant in my life now.  I’m not always awesome at it.  Sometimes I talk too much about myself, and drink too much, and say inappropriate things.  I’m human after all, but I want the majority of my life to be intentional actions of grace.  I don’t think the word ‘gracious’ is first on the list when people think of me now, but I want to be that kind of woman in the future.  So I’m practicing.

Any qualities you’re practicing?




p.s. I made this fresh floral statement necklace photographed above be the amazing Mary Costa!  Is this something you’d be interested in learning?  I don’t do any fashion related posts here, but I do a lot of fashion DIYs in my everyday life, so if you’re interested, I pop a few into the rotation here and there!


26 Comments on “Practicing Graciousness”

  1. Rachael Baldwin April 7, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Beautiful post – erin! Grace is an amazing virtue to practice – In all honesty I’m practicing the same exact thing, it was so great to come across this – so encouraging!

    P.s. Love the necklace – a DIY would be such a treat!

  2. caroline [the diy nurse] April 7, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    I can totally feel ya on this. I just started listening to Jen Sencero’s How to be a Badass audiobook. It’s basically about going after your dreams [the crazy ones] and figuring out why your roadblocks are blocking you.

    But there’s also a lot of simple ways to deal with people when they aren’t being great. SO instead of thinking “that guy is such a jerk for being mean to me.” I think “wow, he’s really angry or upset. he must be going through a lot or just be a miserable person. I feel so bad for him.” I give myself control over my thoughts and actions and feelings. So just because someone is nasty to me, I’m not going to give them control over my feelings. It’s so simple but I’ve been really changing how I live with this book.

    I know I’m rambling but reading this post I kept thinking of that book and thought you’d like it!

  3. Marisa April 7, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    I love this post! I’ve been trying to be more aware of my actions and word and how they impact those around me for better or worse. Of course I always want it to be for the better! It’s crazy how taking a moment to step back really puts things in perspective!

  4. liz April 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    such a great post. sometimes its so hard to remember that you get more bees with honey! please please please teach us how to make floral statement necklaces! that looks amazing!

  5. Mary @ The Kitchen Paper April 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    ERIN! You beautiful woman! I love this post, and absolutely sensed your strong practice of grace and graciousness this weekend. Thanks for being real, and inspiring others to do the same :) xo

  6. Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen April 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    You are such a lovely person! I’m so glad we got to connect this weekend. I definitely need to work on practicing my graciousness as well. It can be so easy to get flustered. I definitely think you should go for the fashion DIYs every now and then, that necklace is beautiful!

  7. Erin | Holtwood Hipster April 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    This post really resonated with me– what came up first were moments when I obviously was not practicing graciousness, then the realization that I could’ve handled things differently. I took it to heart and am going to make an effort to practice graciousness and be conscious of the opportunities to do so. Controlling my own behavior through grace when life seems so much out of my control… may just be exactly what I’ve needed to realize. Thanks for this post!

    • Erin | House of Earnest April 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Erin, I agree with you. When I think about a gracious demeanor, I quickly remember the times when I don’t act this way. It is a very real reminder of why I should :)

      I totally think that controlling my actions graciously has almost made me feel MORE in control when life seems chaotic.

  8. Nicole April 7, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Erin so wonderful to meet you this weekend at GBS! I am excited to get really acquainted with House of Earnest. But in regards to your above post, definitely one of the hardest things to do in life! It is so much easier to fly off the handle versus keeping it cordial, positive and professional some times. Thank you for this little reminder.

    • Erin | House of Earnest April 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      Nicole, it was wonderful meeting you as well! I’ll let you know next time I’m in the windy city :)

  9. Ciel April 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    Great post Erin. I loved what you said about owning our actions and controlling how we handle ourselves. Graciousness trends through so many different scenarios. For instance, my grandmother has this wonderful saying on how to handle yourself when people are talking about you, “you cannot control what others say about you, only how you respond to it.” I think that strikes at the heart of acting with grace and just rising above the situation. Personally, this is what I try to remind myself of on those tricky days when you struggle with being the best version of yourself.

    • Erin | House of Earnest April 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      Ciel – Your grandmother is a wise woman! I love the aspect of using grace to rise above what others say/think about us.

  10. Amanda @ A Hammer & Heels April 7, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    Gorgeous! What a great reminder. You certainly showed grace this weekend, and I am inspired by your realness and honesty! I say go for the fashion DIY’s :)

  11. Jordan G @ The Happy Homebodies April 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    Well said, Erin! I love the idea of “practicing graciousness.”

    For the past couple of years I have been focusing on “practicing gratitude.” I literally write “grateful” in the condensation of my glass shower wall every day to remind myself. Lately we have gotten some tough medical news, and I’ve had to really remind myself to be grateful for all of my blessings instead of focusing on the negative news.

    Now that I’ve read your post, I like to think that gratitude breeds graciousness. Sincere gratitude = positive demeanor = gracious attitude!

    • Erin | House of Earnest April 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      Jordan, What a great way to think about it! I love the idea that a grateful heart breeds a gracious attitude.

      I hope your medical issues progress in a positive way and I’ll be praying for you guys!

  12. Rachel April 7, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    What a lovely attitude. I like the idea of practicing graciousness – the more you do it the better you’ll get at it. It must transform how you interact with so many people. Definitely something I’ll be trying for myself.

  13. Clara April 8, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Such a beautiful, beautiful post. I so see the benefit of implementing this practice in my life… often I feel like my impatience or frustration with people ends up causing me way more harm than them in terms of my mood, energy, and general happiness. I think if I focused more on “choosing how to act,” especially in tough situations, I’d be a whole lot happier! xo

  14. Kristin April 8, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder!
    I’m sure a lot of us here would love to see some of your fashion posts, too.

  15. Gretchen April 8, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    I’ve shared this with a number of friends and family … being positive and gracious isn’t always easy, but it definitely has rewards(for me and everyone else). I find that if you try to find the silver lining in any negative situation, it helps you to be more thoughtful.
    I would love to see a tutorial on the fresh flower statement necklace – it is stunning!


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