You ever have one of those days? The kind that seem to take pleasure in kicking you down, taunting you to dare to rise, then kicking you down again, seemingly just for the sport of it? I do.
Just the other day, I woke up first to some aches and pains, and then to several very upsetting emails that impacted my finances, my friends, and my plans for the week. Then I couldn't find my car keys. Then there was traffic. All the while I was supposed to be entertaining and chauffeuring my family who was in town visiting. The cumulative effect was a chain reaction of fear and loathing and self pity. Too overwhelmed to talk about it or even to cry, I only half jokingly threatened to quit life and then shut down all help and attempted support from my family who were around to witness my meltdown.
"They don't understand. They can't help anyways" I told myself to justify my sullen rudeness.
Yup. That happened. And it continued to happen for a while that day. I can't say I'm proud of my behavior. I've been practicing mindfulness, have done a lot of my own therapy, and, despite what my behavior might have suggested, I am a therapist who helps people. But I'm also still human and very much a work in progress.
Finally, with some time, some growing willingness, and all the opposite action DBT skill power I could muster, I said to my family, who I had only hours before been fairly rude to, "I'm so overwhelmed. I'm sorry for the complete shit show I've been today. I don't know what to do but I'm sorry I've been like this today."
And then it happened. The thing that brings me to tears every time I encounter it. Grace.
I was so less than graceful and was met by love and open arms and warm words and help. And, while my family is great, they aren't that unique. I find that when I get out of my way, let myself be vulnerable, not sit in shame even when I'm clumsy at being a human, I find grace. And it’s humbling and sparks a desire to do better. I find myself returning the kindness and paying it forward to others through the day. When I let myself be vulnerable and act opposite to shame and find grace and acceptance, I am better able to problem solve and manage big emotions.
Now this isn't a fairytale. My family didn't solve all my problems or fix my life and I didn't magically undo the events of the day. But it did become more manageable. And I did start to be able to feel, think, and act more like the empowered adult I know I can be.
I mention this for a few reasons.
1. If you mess up, see if you can find someone to be vulnerable with, admit your mistakes and admit that you need help, and watch for grace to happen. Watch for kindness, compassion, and help. If you look for it, you will find it.
2. If you're in the position to give grace and be kind, do it. Even if they have been less than wonderful to you, do it. Nine times out of ten, it will help the person. You can be the spark that lights up that persons day and helps them turn their world around.
Wishing you find grace and kindness and that you be the grace and kindness someone else finds today. Still need help? Reach out to me today.