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!