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5 Mindset Shifts to Help You Stop Taking Life So Seriously (Last Part)

Hello loves!

This is the final part of the Mindset Shift series! I've really enjoyed writing this series out because a lot of my blog posts are based on what I need to remind myself of. And I definitely needed to have a Mindset Shift in my own life because I noticed how stressed I was about everything.

Like really stressed about everything.

Big things, little things, good and bad, I just found myself viewing everything through a lens of life or death. Which is silly because the things that would stress me out the most were usually not important at all. Even when they didn't work out or I would fail at something, everything would still be okay (Shocker I know).

Which is why the Fifth and Final Mindset shift to have-- the one that's honestly been present in all the other four-- is to Go With Grace.

Before I get into what that means, I want to clarify what I mean when I say "Grace". I'm not referring to our more modern understanding of grace, which is more associated with words like "elegance", "refinement", or "genteel". I'm also not referring to it as the shorthand for praying before a meal or the idea of "gracing someone's presence".

When I say grace, I'm talking about an act of love. A better word is the Greek word Charis which translates to "grace, kindness, and life". If Charis seems familiar, it's probably because it's where we get the words "charity" and "charisma" from. It can also be found in the Bible with two specific definitions that I want to focus on for this mindset shift (shoutout to Bible Study Tools for the definitions).

Number One: "grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech"

Number Two: "Good will, loving-kindness, favour; of the merciful kindness by which God... turns (souls) to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues."

Okay lot of definitions being thrown at you right now, I apologize, but stick with me. Also disclaimer, if this feels like it's about to get really Bible-preachy Sunday School vibes, I promise it's not. I just want to make sure we're all on the same page before I explain this Mindset Shift.

So, what do I mean when I say 'To Stop Taking Life So Seriously, Go with Grace/Charis"?

Well, I mean carry yourself with a grace-centric mindset. Easier said than done, I know (trust me, I know), but I honestly think it's something a lot more people need to at least try to do more.

By going through life with Grace, the stressors of life will start to fade away. If you put your focus on being 'perfect', being 'successful', being 'cool', or whatever specific word describes the image you project out into the world, you will stress. Because no one is perfect or smart or funny all the time. It's literally impossible. And when you mess up, because everyone does, or you feel like you're about to mess up, you'll panic or lash out or feel like you're not good enough.

You'll take things far too seriously and find it harder to shift your Mindset like we've talked about in the other posts.

When you take life too seriously, it can have negative consequences. Obviously, I know sometimes you have to be "serious", like we shouldn't be silly-goofy when it comes to deadlines, budgeting or hard conversations. But when we operate out of a "there can be no failure or else..." headspace, we start to forget that we can relax and breathe easier.

And this can hurt the people around us. Like when our "Time is Money" mantra begins to lead to inexplicable road rage when we get stuck behind the slow, very cautious student driver. Or the "I can Sleep when I'm Dead" mentality makes us neglect our friends and loved ones in favor of getting ahead on a project or hobby or fitness goal. Suddenly, when everything is serious, when we can't make room for errors, we get irritated with anyone around us who seems to be "slacking off" or are "preventing us from our goals".

Fun fact: Literally no one is sabotaging you. (Refer back to the "You Are Not Special" segment)

But seriously, the slow drivers, the obnoxiously loud talkers in your study room, the friends who encourage you to leave work early to go to a music festival-- they're not irresponsible or "less serious". They are just simply trying to live their own lives too.

We all are living life for the very first time. We all are doing the best we can with the information we have. And sometimes, that information turns out to be wrong or incomplete; which leads to mistakes.

And that's OKAY.

The key to not taking life too seriously is to understand this and accept this. It's to have Grace-- to those in the world around us and to ourselves.

So much of life today leaves people stressed out. There is such a hyperfocus on holding people accountable for everything-- which is great, because that's the only way people will learn and grow. But there seems to be an alarming lack of forgiveness. Of second chances.

People take life seriously so much more than usual today because they are afraid to fail in any way, shape, or form. And it's understandable, in a way. I mean who wouldn't be a little hesitant about trying something new or taking a risk if the result could end up with them being mocked or targeted online.

The sad part is that the digital world is (pardon me, here) literally bullsh*t. It's all fake. Like it's a bunch of 0s and 1s and the real people on it can jump in and out all while hiding behind a screen. It shouldn't have this much power over people and yet it does.

Which is why I think we need to combat this hyper-serious, every man for themself, no mistakes allowed mindset with Grace. If we bring Grace to every interaction- real or digital- there will be a noticeable difference.

With Grace, you won't jump to the worst assumption about another person and attack them. With Grace, you won't mock or jeer when someone messes up or is "cringe".

With Grace, you'll be able to smile with genuine love and a feeling of being enough at the face in the mirror.

The thing about Grace, in every form and definition, is that it exists without being impacted by the world. A graceful person stands out because they move or speak in a way that is noticeably different from the hustle and bustle crowd. Saying grace before a meal puts a pause in the process of eating instead of immediately diving in (or taking a picture).

Grace is directly associated with the words joy and loving-kindness, and I think that says a lot. Both Joy and Loving-Kindness oppose everything that is said in the world around us.

Joy isn't happiness; joy ascends happiness. Joy exists even if you're sad or bored or angry. Joy is something that no amount of 'likes and follows' or party invites or Stanley cups can fill. It's something that can't be ruined by a flat tire or earth-shattering news. It's not an emotion (despite what Pixar thinks), it's a state of being. A contentedness and peace with a dash of love that cannot be swayed by circumstances.

And Loving-Kindness? It's not just two words randomly thrown together. It's a beautiful type of kindness that we see less and less in the ultra-individualistic world. Loving-Kindness is what we show others when we are purely driven by care and empathy, and expect nothing in return. It's what allows us to still pick up our keys when that person we're in a fight with calls and needs a ride. It's what gives us the secret smile when we do a small act of good that no one will ever know about (and was not filmed for clout, by the way). And sometimes, Loving-Kindness is what enables us to have the hard conversation, to keep fighting for someone who everyone else has given up on ever changing, knowing that it can end with that person telling us to "**ck off".

It's through Grace that we can have Joy. It's with Grace that we can show others, no matter how difficult they can be, a Loving-Kindness that's got nothing to do with a promised return.

And when you start to see life as an opportunity to show Grace to others, it starts to be a little less stressful. You won't care if people 'don't like you' because the people who truly know you in any way that matters will know what kind of person you are. The mistakes or follies of others won't make your blood boil; instead you'll be able to either let it go or explain calmly why this person's actions bothered you, and all from a place of understanding.

Loki Getting Humbled

See, people get angry and aggressive and indignant when they hold themselves to an unreasonable standard of self-importance. And through this lens of "being the Main Character", they expect everyone else to treat them as such, to make things perfect for them. And when people don't, either due to an honest mistake like a wrong food-order or because no one is so important they're exempt from the rules, these self-important people crack.

Why? Because their facade of being the most special star in the Universe has been broken. They didn't get to cut the line, no one apologized for the small error, and yet the world kept turning. So they either let it ruin their whole day and get all moody, or they make a big, screaming scene that will go viral within the hour (and usually results in them getting even more humbled.)

It's... a bit sad actually.

I've noticed the most prideful people I've ever met are actually the most insecure. They have obnoxious egos and feel entitled to compliments 24/7, because the moment they or others don't tell them they're ~Amazing~, their doubts and insecurities creep in. And when they aren't treated specially? Goodness, brace yourself.

I think people become this way because they didn't receive enough Grace. If every act of kindness had strings attached, every mistake was blown out of proportion, and no one ever corrected an action with Loving-Kindness... well, yeah, who wouldn't be wildly insecure? Wrapping yourself in a blanket of self-importance would be the only defense you have.

If you've ever felt that way, or feel that way now, I am so sorry. No one should feel like the world is out to get them, because it's not. But I can promise you that acting arrogantly and entitled is only going to hurt you more. You and everyone else around you will mess up. It's important to understand that.

And to those who may know people like this, or to those who want to have a more Grace-centered mindset, remember that everyone makes mistakes (everyone has those days) and to always act from a place of understanding.

There are very few things that are truly, truly serious in life. Getting cut-off in traffic, being accidentally ignored in a group setting, or even being on the receiving end of a Karen-esque meltdown sucks, but rarely are they something that should impact your life. Take a breath, remember everyone is figuring out how to do this whole life mess just like you are, and put some Grace-filled Love out in the world.

And give yourself some love. Because you are amazing and worthy.

Love y'all!

"He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy." -Titus 3:5

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