By Belladonna LaVeau (2019), Painting by Edouard Bisson (1899)

Grace is one of those elusive things that must be cultivated. It is a true factor of Beauty, and where the concept of ‘Beauty starts from within’ originates. Some of us developed Grace from watching our elders, but most of us must work to develop our Grace. As Grace applies to beauty, it is defined in the dictionary as a noun, 1. simple elegance or refinement of movement "she danced with effortless grace",  synonymselegance, stylishness, poise, finesse, charm 2. courteous good will "at least she has the grace to admit her mistake" synonyms: courtesy, courteousness, politeness, manners, good manners, mannerliness, civility, decorum, decency, propriety, breeding, respect, respectfulness.  

 

When I think about grace, it conjures up images of cultivated ladies with white gloves and hats sipping tea, or ballet dancers. Grace is one of those character traits that denotes you have cultivated your personality, you have learned to control your impulses, that you respect others. It even says that you come from a family that has respect for one another, since Grace is often cultivated from how you were raised. 

 

We have a saying in the South, “Beauty is only skin deep, but Ugly is to the bone.” This is a direct reflection of Grace. A person can be stunningly beautiful on the outside, but thier actions and words can make them appear very ugly. I am sure you can think of physically beautiful women, whom you do not consider beautiful, because of their lack of Grace. Most people without Grace, have no idea that they don’t have it. It’s for this reason that Grace is our lesson for today. 

 

Showing Grace with Words 

Grace is when you are kind and gentle. It’s when you control what you would say, because it would be rude or unkind not to. It’s when you decide not to indulge your hateful or mean-spirited impulses. It’s when you examine your feelings and judgements before sharing them. 

 

We often jump to the conclusion that because we have made a decision about life, that our conclusions are right for everyone else. This is especially true if our judgement is based on pain, fear or anger. For exampleSay I am afraid of drowning, so this version of me won’t allow anyone else to enjoy swimming. I refuse to attend pool parties and criticize anyone that has them. I then judge them for picking an activity that I see as excluding me and for *obviously* not caring about my feelings. I start expressing my anxiety very vocally to everyone if I ever have to be at a pool, making them feel bad for enjoying the water in front of me. I will cultivate the fear of water in my children, so they will not drown. I would do this all out of my fear, instead of love, making everyone that wanted to swim feel wrong for their desire. This is not Grace. 

 

Grace would require you to deal with your own issues and recognize that swimming is a valid activity in which many humans find great pleasure and relaxation. You might choose to go to a therapist and decline the parties but encourage your friends and or children to go. You might find a way to enjoy the people at the party, avoiding the pool area, quietly letting those that ask know that you have a phobia, but not projecting it on everyone else.  

 

This is Grace. 

 

Grace requires us to see the needs of others and respect their right to have those needs. Whether it’s holding the door open for someone whose arms are full or supporting your loved ones to make choices in life that you would not make. Giving people the respect to make their own mistakes and find what’s right for them, is Grace.  

Grace is skipping the criticism and the “I-told-you-so's”. Even if you did tell them so, it’s graceless to remind them. They know you told them. It probably took a lot of Grace on their part to admit that they made the mistake anyway. A Graceful response would instead focus on the pain the person experienced and offer comfort. 

 

 “I’m so sorry.  

 

Are you ok?  

 

Do you need a hug?” 

 

Grace is also the ability to hear criticism. If someone works up the nerve to tell you where you need to improve, have the Grace to listen and ponder the words. Thank them for the input and let them know you will think about what they said. It could be that they don’t know the details and are completely off base. It could also mean they are right. Either way, you will not know until you’ve thought about it. Accepting criticism with Grace means that people are going to tell you the truth. And really, the criticism is where your true growth lies. Wouldn’t you rather know? I appreciate someone that has the courage to tell me what they really think. It gives me the power to change the situation, if I choose to.  

 

Showing Grace with your Presence 

Grace is being realistic about your ability to impact a situation for others. Such as in a stressful time, you want to come in and say something that’s helpful, so the stressful situation can disappear. That feeling is about you and your need to feel good about yourself and implies a false sense of control, when what is needed is for you to focus on the other person. Grace is being able to hold yourself together in the stressful situation and allow your strength to be enough. Sometimes your presence and a hug are the best medicine. People can figure out their own problems and when given the opportunity, their own resolutions. Let them talk and encourage yourself to listen. Ask them how they feel and allow them to explore those feelings. Hold space for their pain or frustration. Just be there for them. 

 

Funerals and hospital stays are times when you can make a quick visit that will leave an impact in someone’s life. You do not have to spend hours with them, but people do want to know you care and that you are thinking of them. Even if it is only a ten-minute visit, stopping by to say hello can mean the world in times of physical or emotional pain. 

 

Forgive with Grace 

When someone asks your forgiveness, accept their apology graciously. They have come to you humbly asking for your pardon. That is not a time to tell them why they should have done so much sooner. It is also not the time to get in one last biting comment. Nor is it an appropriate time to correct them and tell them how they could have handled the situation better. If you are in a teaching or authoritative position over the person and you need to give them advice that will help them in the future, separate your advice from your forgiveness. Allow them to see you have accepted their apology and then later share with them the correction and direction they need.  

 

Learn to say, “I’m Sorry.” 

When you make a mistakeGrace demonstrates the strength of character to ask for forgiveness. Perhaps they have not acted to their best and highest potential, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be gracious about your part in a conflict. You can ask them to forgive you for your part in the issue. Remember grace is coming from your highest place. There’s no room for you to be punitive without calling karma onto yourself. Let the Lords of Karma dole out punishments if they are warranted. You can’t be responsible for anyone else’s behavior. You are 100% responsible for your behavior. Even if in your opinion they don’t deserve an apology, you can ask their forgiveness for your role in the conflict.  

 

Keep Short Accounts 

When you need to apologize, do it quickly and honestly. Don’t bring up the many times you feel they have wronged you. Forgive themand yourself, for being in the situation. Even if they don’t ask for it. Learn from it. Make your mistakes count. Your character is not measured in your mistake, but in what you do after your mistake. Grace can go a long way to repairing a relationship if you will respond in a loving way, even when they don’t. 

 

Clean Up Your Language 

Beyond using gentle words with those around you, be careful how you express yourself. Do you have some words in your vocabulary that shouldn’t be there? There may be some words you say that aren’t really “bad” words, but the way you say them can express the same feelings as curse words? Be careful with substitute curse words. If you mean the same emotion behind poor language usage, even if you substitute a word, it will negatively impact your ability to keep your Grace. 

 

Say Thank You and Share your Grace with Others 

Take time to say, “Thank You.” It doesn’t cost anything, but it can show other people your gratitude. Writing a thank you note or giving a small gift to express your appreciation for a kind act, speaks volumes towards your Grace. People help you in the first place because they want to see you uplifted. Expressing gratitude will make them want to help you again. You can make someone's day by putting a “thank you” on your lips or in a card in someone’s hand. 

 

Take Interest in Others 

Everyone is a God or Goddess. That’s what Wicca teaches us. We are all children of the Gods, and therefore everyone is important and unique, with a touch of amazing! When you meet someone take a genuine interest in this new Deity you are meeting. Take a moment to respect them by asking them a question or two about themselves, and then look them in the eye and pay attention as they answer. An attitude of genuine interest towards others cannot be underestimated. Your ability to impact someone will never be greater than the first time you meet them. Let people talk about themselves—then be interested in their response. They will decide you are gracious and important, because you felt they were important enough to learn something about them. 

 

We all have room to cultivate more Grace in our lives. It is not easy. It takes self-reflection, discipline and a good deal of vigilance. However, it is well worth the results. Because Grace, like respect, is something that you don’t know if you don’t have it, because no one has taught it to you. Once you encounter Grace, you recognize it, and want more of it.  

 

Grace is a beauty trait that creates a kinder, gentler, society and improves the lives of everyone you meet in person, or online.  

 

References: 

Google Dictionary 

Websters Dictionary 

https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-to-show-grace-to-others/