Life doesn’t travel in a straight line. There will always be detours, wrong turns and unexpected events along the way.
When looking at the behavior of others, it can be easy to pass judgment until you find yourself going through a similar experience. Suddenly your well-defined belief system of right and wrong takes a hit as you deal with your own unique set of circumstances.
Rules are a Basic Guide
Rules and boundaries are an important part of guidance and learning. Etiquette dictates that a standard code of decorum supports a favorable outcome in life, love and business. I have come to believe that grace can be found in the gray areas of our lives. For clarification, my definition of “grace” is defined as blessings disguised as hardships and tough lessons we experience. “Gray” represents the messy mistakes and unexpected events we must navigate as we experience life’s challenges. These gray events cause us to look deep within ourselves and determine how we will cope and move forward in unsettling times. Experiencing our own personal gray moments will provide the opportunity to empathize with another’s pain, show remorse, forgive a transgression or look past a gaffe while getting to know and understand their true struggles.
Good People Make Poor Choices
At one time or another, we have all done something we would prefer to sweep under the rug. I recently watched as someone I deeply admire and respect endured a particularly hard misstep. Disappointingly, a few of her close friends were the first to judge, gossip, point fingers and make hasty assumptions. Others boldly and defiantly expressed their support and love.
Careful What You Think
How do you define the high road when a fellow human being is struggling with a difficult situation? You may be adamant that your child will never use drugs (or fill in the blank) until you get the call which proves otherwise. Or, you may be the person who feels smug and pious as you judge the single mom who never gets her Kinder child to school on time. How will your conscience be affected when you learn she works two jobs to pay her rent and must drive across town every night to pick up her child from a relative kind enough to lend their support? What do you do when you disagree with someone else’s behavior? Will you turn away or use it as an opportunity to show grace in the gray area of life? Grace arrives when your own insecurity is extinguished.
Dust Yourself Off
It may be difficult to stand tall when you’ve made a bad choice or are dealing with someone who’s betrayed you. In either circumstance, it’s a curveball you were not expecting. In the hard times, you may look to others for empathy. If you are the one called on for support, attempting to understand their circumstances is a compassionate act of goodwill.
Search for the Meaning
Grace can be found in the gray areas of life. The greatest gift you will offer another person is a kind and forgiving heart. We can never fully grasp another person’s burdens, but we can attempt to minimize them with courtesy, love and support.
By embracing the gray, you will no doubt benefit from your own experience of grace. More importantly, those around you will be forever blessed by your vibrant spirit.
For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, you may enjoy How To Maintain Real Life Friendships In A Digital World. Read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on HuffPost, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Buy her book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.