We have ample grace for everyone. Our kids, spouse, parents, siblings, friends, boss, neighbors. But the one person that we don’t have grace for is our own self.
Why is grace short for us? Women don’t get much grace from most people. We are expected to run the house, the family, our jobs and the functions of our lives flawlessly. There is no room for error. There is shame with mistakes. There is no learning curve in the job of womanhood. It’s tough. And it becomes tougher when motherhood starts.
We were someone’s child, right? A child who got plenty of chances. A child who was emotionally supported. A child who could always ask for help without being made to feel like their inability to do something was a failure. A child who leaned on her parents when she was tired. A child who depended on friends for strength. And then we get married. And overnight, we are expected to grow up. All the way up.
How can anyone grow up like that? Growing up is a process. It’s a whole biological and psychological process. And it’s a lot of soul-searching, exploring, navigating. It doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with time. Loads of time.
And everyone grows up at their own pace. I grew up slower than some and much faster than others. What I faced at 20 is what some had been dealing with at 10. It’s a highly individual process with very different asks from each person. Not everyone’s growing up has the same trials and joys. Not everyone learns about life the same way.
Also, it is not necessary for everyone to grow up and start adulting when their peers are. Some take it slow. To some life happens slowly. It’s okay. We all will get where we need to ultimately.
Our parents give us a lot of grace while we are growing up. Parents forgive and redirect us almost every single day. And then they give us to our husbands. And most women lose all the grace that was extended to them by their parents.
I think the societal expectation of ready-to-avail readiness has to go. Readiness is a journey and even though it usually gets us ready, sometimes it does just the opposite. It shows us that we aren’t ready and may not be ready in the near future.
Personally I have a lot of grace for people. From my nanny to some supremely toxic relatives, I extend grace to everyone. Sometimes I practice grace as morality and sometimes to keep myself sane. Sometimes I like extending my grace to some people and sometimes my grace is undeserved .
But I know that my grace has never been available to me just as readily as it is available to others. My criticism of my own self has been the worst. I internalize a lot of negative feedback without questioning it. Without ever interjecting and saying “Hey! I know I’m not perfect but this doesn’t sound like something that I can’t be given some consideration for”.
This Ramadan I’ll practice grace. More for myself than others. Because our grace needs to come to us before it goes anywhere else. We need to be kind to ourselves first. It’s necessary. We can’t pour from an empty cup.
And this Ramadan I would like to see more Muslim families extending their grace to their women. This Ramadan more women should fast, more should come to say Taraweeh, more should be made to feel the partnership in marriages and domestic unions. More women should experience grace and more women should fill their cups. 💕