Its easy to be nice to people who are nice to you basically and the same turns out to be true of a multitude of other things, like kindness, compassion and grace. I guess thats the measure of ones real ability to be gracious, if you can extend that to someone tricky.
Grace periods can’t be contingent on whether or not the person has first shown you a grace period. Thats the rub as it happens. To be gracious or not to be gracious that is the question. The definition of a grace period is on a case by case basis; sometimes for me the grace period means I simply have to walk away. Or sometimes its simply listening rather than having to ‘fix’ the problem presented. Sometimes people just need a listener not a solution-er.
To be honest if I feel thin on the ground with my ability to be gracious, its when I know I am too wiped out. I have to extricate myself from the world for a bit, which for me means lying in bed wearing silk, watching french films and eating toast with butter and Bonne Maman jam. Its too dangerous to keep pushing myself as I am not of any use to anyone, or myself. Worst than that, I am in danger of saying something I may later regret; something that is not coming from my true centered self, but that comes out only because I am overtired and pushed beyond my limit.
Giving yourself a grace period. Sometimes it can be much easier to give others a grace period than ones own self. In some instances, if we talked to others the way we talk to ourselves it could be considered abusive. For some reason we can often hold ourselves to crazily high expectations and if we fail to meet them then we can have a tendency to beat ourselves up about it. But you are allowed to fail without being considered a failure.
Just like the idea of before you can love someone else you must love yourself. Grace, I think, begins with the way you treat yourself and then emanates out to include others. Be kind to yourself, give yourself a grace period and take the foot off your own mental gas pedal from time to time.
Tags: grace, grace period, Mhairi Morrison, The bead movement