Elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion or action
A pleasing or attractive quality or endowment
Favor of goodwill
I have a new motto. I cannot take full credit for it, as it came from a recent conversation I had with my shrink. Yes, I have a therapist! Did you really believe I was this well-adjusted all on my own? Puh-lease.
"Respond with grace"
Why? Because I'm working on being a better person. A better mother. A better friend. A better wife. A better employee. A better human being.
For those of you who know me, it is clear I am a sensitive chick. In other words, my feelings are quiet easily hurt. I take everything personally. I mean everything. And when my feelings are hurt, I get....defensive. When I get defensive, I get sarcastic and nasty. So do the math folks and you will come to realize that I spend a lot of my life being down-right....BITCHY.
Bitchy isn't good. No. People don't like to be friends with bitches. People don't sit around thinking... you know who we should invite to our party? That BITCH! Nope. The world doesn't work that way.
I don't want to be a bitter sarcastic woman. And while I am still learning how I can be a little less sensitive, and I am still trying to figure out how to deal with the stress of raising three moody little boys, one thing I can do with some relative ease is choose how I respond to these perceived slights, or negative situations. And I can choose to respond with grace.
What does that mean? When I looked up the word I found a few definitions, many of them religious. But the bottom line is, it means beauty and goodwill. And that folks is who I want to be. I want to be someone who is fair, good and can take other's feelings into account.. I want to be able to stand behind my words and demonstrate patience and thoughtfulness.
So I have spent the last few days trying this on for size. I won't lie, I hasn't been easy every time, and I have had some knee-jerk reaction backslides, but for the most part I have been pleased with my actions.
Take for example a recent epic-eight-year-old-meltdown. A meltdown that had dad red faced and sentencing one little boy to basically a lifetime of time outs. That boy can be infuriating. He can leave me wanting to stamp my feet, slam the door and revert back to my own childhood. My gut wanted to scream "Shut up Zachary! You are behaving like a baby!"
But I took a step back and nearly said the words out-loud "Respond with grace"
How could I respond in a caring way? A way that I would be proud of? A way that I could stand by?
Deep breath, and I sat down on my son's bed as he stood there furious and crying. Calling names and being generally awful. In my calmest voice I started to talk to him about his feelings, and how he could use his thoughts to calm down his angry feelings. I was kind and firm, and damn it was rather graceful.
I showed by example.
I acted in a way I was proud of.
I was respectful.
I was kind.
And....it worked. It freaking worked! The kid calmed down. The kid reflected what I was showing him.
It was a a miracle!!
In all seriousness, I know that I cannot control the actions of others. I know that even if I am Mother-Effing-Theresa, I still may not get the response from that I desire. But what I can control, are my own actions and responses. These are a reflection of me, and I want to like what I see in the mirror.
So when that sales clerk is rude, when my kid wishes I was dead, when my client belittles me, or when a friend offends me, I will try to remember my motto and respond with grace and show the world who I really am.