After the pandemic hit, I had panic attacks for the first time in my life. I'd describe the experience like drowning. It feels like a wave rising up in my body, ready to overwhelm and sweep me away.
When I dig deeper into where the panic comes from, I began to realize that the pressure I put on myself, sometimes without realizing it, is a major factor. Like many of us, my expectations of myself, both conscious and not, are often high and unrelenting.
Because of this pressure and its effect on me, I got curious about the idea of giving myself grace. Grace is often associated with religion, especially Christianity. "There, but for the grace of God, go I" is a saying you're likely familiar with.
The thought is that grace is something bestowed upon us, as a favor or act of mercy. For me, giving grace is like a forgiveness. It's a big exhale of breath, a weight lifted off of me, and brings me a sense of relief.
It's not often we give ourselves the gift of grace. We think we need to do, to act, to perform, to accomplish. We don't allow ourselves the space and breath that grace provides. Granting grace gives us freedom to let ourselves off the hook a little bit.
Rather than continually expect so much of ourselves, we can benefit the quality of our lives by yielding and leaning on grace to carry us through the challenges we face. Forgiving ourselves, taking our foot off the gas pedal, and just allowing versus pushing, are ways we can manifest grace for ourselves.
No doubt there will continue to be uncertainty, stress and challenge as we live through this extraordinary time. Making room for grace can help us get through it just a little easier.
Music Rakhe Rakhanhar (roughly "God Himself is Looking Out for Us") - Nirinjan Kaur Khalsa Amazing Grace - Whitney Houston Aad Guray Nameh ("White Light of Proection") - Jai-Jagdeesh By the Grace of God - Katy Perry