Dr. Kim Burns

At the end of each month, I use my PowerSheets to reflect on my goals and plan the upcoming four weeks. The monthly review includes the prompt, “I am choosing grace over guilt about . . . ”

I’ve always associated the word grace with religion and it normally would not be a part of my vocabulary. Until now.

Living, parenting, working, and teaching in a pandemic requires A LOT of grace.

I looked up the definition. One is “an instance of kindness, courtesy or clemency.” 

So, what did I choose grace over guilt about when reviewing progress on my goals? 

  • It may take me 2 months to finish the 30-day Yoga Journey.
  • I haven’t been doing the exercises my physical therapist assigned for tendonitis in my elbow.
  • I skipped exercising in January more often than I’m comfortable with (too much doomscrolling). 
  • There are some projects I just keep pushing lower on my to-do list. 

Intentionally permitting myself to not slay every goal I set for myself reduces the pressure. I set goals to move myself forward. That’s all. For February, I will continue to work on them.

Grace over guilt is also for giving the people in my life the benefit of the doubt. It helps me practice non-judgment. In a time of collective trauma, we are all trying our best even though it may not seem like it.

Coaching clients canceling at the last minute? Grace. Sometimes we need to do what is best for us in the moment.

Teenager’s bedroom littered with dirty dishes? Grace (after shutting the door).

Girlfriend needs to vent when I am in the middle of something? Grace. She will return the favor.

Colleagues mute their video during a meeting? Grace. I trust they are doing what they need to do to get through the day.

Students nervous about an assignment? Grace. I will take all the time needed to answer questions. Grad school is hard enough, never mind during a pandemic. 

This doesn’t mean I don’t get judgy or grumpy. I most certainly do. My patience gets thin just like everyone else’s. I’ve realized that we all need a little extra kindness right now. We need leniency. We need a presumption of goodwill. Some days, we slay it like the badasses we are. On other days, we muddle through until we can crawl back under the covers. 

One day at a time, my friends.

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