Give Yourself Grace | A young Asian woman looking in the mirror, trying to forgive herself and move forward.

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How to Give Yourself Grace Without Excusing Your Actions

We all make mistakes. And we often feel shame or embarrassment because of them. But we need to switch our mindset when it comes to messing up. Instead of beating ourselves up over every little thing, we need to give ourselves grace. 

It’s human nature to be imperfect and do or say the wrong thing sometimes. Imagine how boring the world would be if we were all perfect. Our imperfections and mistakes make us into the people we are.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be purposely messing things up and not caring about the consequences that follow. You need to find a balance between giving yourself grace and not excusing your actions.

Reflect on your mistake

What did you do wrong? Why did it happen? Who does this affect? 

These are questions you should be asking yourself after you’ve done something wrong, but without beating yourself up. To know how to fix a problem, give yourself grace, or improve yourself, you need to first acknowledge the root of the issue.

It’s also important to be able to recognize what your actions mean for yourself and for the people around you. To give yourself grace does not mean to disregard the feelings of others. Your actions affect more than just yourself, and you need to be aware of that. 

If you hurt someone else with something you said or did, the first step towards mending that wound is a heartfelt apology. This shouldn’t be a shameful thing—apologizing is one of the bravest things a person can do.

Don’t turn to self-loathing

Your negative actions should not be followed up with you being self-deprecating or self-hating. You’re human. It’s guaranteed that you will mess up throughout your life.

It’s one thing to recognize what you did, it’s another to beat yourself up over it. Self-loathing is not going to fix anything or help anybody around you. It’s only going to tear you down. Be conscious that you’re not turning around and hating yourself over something you did.

You can want to change and be better without hating who you are and punishing yourself.

Know that you’re not the first person to mess up

When you do something wrong, it’s easy to think that you’re the first person who has ever messed up. But, I promise you, you’re not. Don’t isolate yourself in this.

Like I said before, we are all human. Humans are not perfect—they do good things and bad things, kind things and mean things. And that’s totally normal. You will be forgiven and you will move on, but that process starts with you.

Shake it off!

In the everlasting, wise words of Taylor Swift, “shake it off!”

Life is way too short to be worried about every wrong action we make. Imagine how exhausting and un-enjoyable life would be if everyday you thought about all of the things you’ve done wrong and what you could have done differently. Regret can help us grow, but it can also hold us back if we let it simmer for too long. 

I have a small quirky thing I like to do when I need to just suck it up and let something go. There’s a song from In The Heights called “Carnaval del Barrio” that helps me to release the anger or tension I’m holding.

In one of the verses, the main character, Usnavi, is talking to the woman he is in love with, Vanessa, and he sings, “Forget about what could’ve been / Dance with me one last night in the hood again.” When I need to get over something, I sing that line in my head, do a little dance, and let that worry leave my body. 

Forget about what you could have done differently, dance it out instead!

It’s not an easy process

It’s hard to do all of this—to give yourself grace without excusing your actions. But it is also necessary. You can’t let mistakes of your past ruin your future. Live in the moment, feel all of the feelings, and move on

There’s comfort in knowing that each mistake you make will just become a blip in the magical, messy timeline of your life. It also helps to remember that you’re going through that magical, messy life with other people who are doing the same.

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