It’s interesting how we have to be intentional about practicing grace and gratitude, but stress, busyness and frustration are second nature.
We are pros at reacting to all the things life throws at us, drilling through our never-ending to-do lists, skipping lunch, sacrificing sleep and taking care of ourselves in the pursuit of more. But more of what? And to what end?
What would happen if grace and gratitude came first?
What if we felt …
- grace when dealing with uncertainty
- gratitude before we were stressed or frustrated
- hopeful while dealing with loss
- loved before judged
- loving before judging
Everything I read suggests grace and gratitude as a solution to stress, frustration and overwhelm but if grace and gratitude come first, we can avoid some of the stress or at least navigate it in a healthier way. Instead of using grace and gratitude as tools to solve problems, let’s start from a place of grace and gratitude.
The research on gratitude is fascinating.
If you want to see if grace and gratitude can soften or eliminate some of the craziness of your life, try it.
Here are a few ways to put grace and gratitude first …
Say thank you first.
Let your first thought of the day be one of gratitude. What are you grateful for when you open your eyes? Think about it for 30 seconds before jumping out of bed. Write it down or say it out loud.
Stop measuring who you are by what you accomplish.
Grace measures more by what’s on your heart than what’s on your list. When you are stressing over your calendar or to-do list and telling yourself you are falling behind, remember who you are and what you mean to the people around you. Remember what really matters to you. Trust what’s in your heart.
Laughing is grace and gratitude all wrapped into one joyful expression. Laugh more. Life is serious enough without us trying to keep it all together all day long.
Start with you.
The more loving you are with yourself, the more loving you can be with everyone around you. The more grateful you are for who you are, what’s on the inside and what you have to offer, the more grateful you can be for the stuff on the outside. The more grace you extend to yourself, the more you’ll have to extend to others.
Let go. Let go. Let go.
All of this holding on to stuff that doesn’t really matter gets in the way of grace and gratitude. From physical clutter and stuff, to things we think we should believe or should do, to what we think others think – it’s all messy. Keep letting go of anything standing in the way of more grace and gratitude in your life.
Here’s the thing … we can work to simplify our lives, take better care of ourselves, and reduce stress but some things are not in our control. There will always be surprises, uncertainty, difficult people, loss, and failure. With a reserve of grace and gratitude, we’ll get through the hard stuff and come out stronger on the other side.
And the good stuff will be even sweeter.