Your Grace: Practicing Abundance in Relationships
There’s something worth noting about relationships: when stress levels and daily busyness rise, patience and grace for those closest to us take a sharp nosedive. It’s like a scientific law or something.
The holiday season is a double-edged sword: on one side, it’s lovely and ushers in ample opportunity for joy and celebration. On the other side, it can drain us of every last ounce of peace we thought we’d hoovered up during the “off months” leading up.
Let’s face it, if there is a time that relationships fall prey to resentment and conflict, it is surely now.
We hemorrhage money, we play the comparison game, we over-plan, we tend to indulge a wee bit, and we flat out go go go.
Do you relate? I’m curious, do any of your relationships take a hit this time of year? Perhaps you notice a slightly deflated reserve of patience for friends and family that otherwise wouldn’t phase you?
I know I do.
Perfect example: Thanksgiving Dinner was at our house this past week. As much as I adore hosting dinner parties, this was my inaugural Thanksgiving Dinner. I was stoked, to say the least.
Now, as a recovering perfectionist, I swing slightly towards the control freak side of the spectrum. (Ok, maybe "slightly" is generous.) I drive a tight ship when it comes to culinary experiences and ensuring those present thoroughly enjoy their time. This past year, I finally embraced the motto: Go big or go home.
I’d timed everything out just right: arrival at four, sunset aperitif and hor d’oeuvres at four thirty-five, and dinner around six. I’d stayed up until midnight the night before designing the table and brining those poor birds. I was all in.
Well, as you can probably detect, my perfect little plan didn’t quite fly. I mean, it did, but in a way I hadn’t engineered, naturally. My siblings missed the sunset, the appetizers weren’t ready on time, and I developed a big fat attitude.
“I mean, where are they? They’re missing the best part! How rude.”
My very lovely and kind mother looked straight at me and said two words very sternly, “GRACE, Katie!”
Those tiny words shook me, resetting my entire outlook faster than a costume change on Broadway.
The rest of the evening was so special, not because of anything I did or didn’t execute, but because of each person there and the unique gift they brought to the space and conversation that could never have been orchestrated by me or Martha Stewart for that matter.
Here is a question for us this season: how can we practice abundance in our relationships and in doing so, extend more grace?
Sure, we think of the holiday season as full—abundant. What if we could build that picture up to include the practice of abundance with people?
Practicing abundance in relationships may look different for you and me, however, here are a few quick ways to beef up our game:
- Choose to believe the absolute best about people when they disappoint or hurt your feelings. Try not to make assumptions about them.
- Intentionally cultivate positive, life-giving thoughts about people throughout the day whether it be a spouse, parent, co-worker, or friend.
- Draw boundaries for yourself both physically and emotionally throughout the season so as not to grow tired and clumsy with those closest to you. Clear, firm boundaries allow us to love from a far more authentic space in relationships.
- Be generous and intentional with your words. I have a friend who always says, “If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it out.” Our words are powerful and carry gravity in this relational and energetic world we live in, let’s practice abundance instead of scarcity with them.
Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, got it right when he succinctly wrote,
“Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.”
Grace is something curious—exquisite. In my understanding, we don’t earn grace, yet we’ve all received it at some point along the way, without merit and without cause. Perhaps you know someone who extends grace to you in a way that feels expansive and incredibly safe. Draw from that light, create that welcoming space for a weary soul who needs a soft landing pad. We simply don't know the struggles those around us face, especially when we're wrapped up in our own little world.
Practicing abundance with people isn’t just for them, it is for you and me as well. Grace is a legacy never forgotten. This season, let’s pay it forward and give the gift of grace, just because.
Love & Gratitude,