I've never really been into tattoos. In fact, they used to be a big turn off for me for a while, but as time has progressed, I've become more intrigued by them. I've learned to appreciate the backstory behind them. The meaning behind the words, the sketches, and the hours of detail put into ink on skin. Do I have any? No. Well, at least not yet. (Mom, I know you're laughing and rolling your eyes right at this line). I've always been pretty afraid of needles, so I deemed myself to be tattoo free for the rest of my life, until a friend relayed three words to me in a time I was overwhelmed beyond belief; in a time where I did not have the answers that I wanted; in a time that I needed these words the most:

Give yourself grace.

For being a phrase I repeat so often and live by so fully, it is funny to think that I did not quite understand its meaning when it was first stated to me. My first translation was probably, "Girlfriend, calm the HECK down." Sure, that's one way to interpret it, but the realm of grace opens up more than just calming down. The realm of grace offers forgiveness, understanding, and validation for whatever overwhelming nature it is you find yourself among.

By no means does the concept of "giving yourself grace" have to stem from religious roots. It is the simple act of understanding that you are human, that you cannot do it all, nor should you have to. It is the justification of wild emotions, some too strong to tame, others too confusing to comprehend. It is the deep breath you take at the end of that crazy, awful day, knowing you did all that you could, and tomorrow brings new sunshine and opportunities. It is the moment you stop beating yourself up over the little things, the moment your eyes go wide at the big picture of it all. It is the day you quell your worries and silence your insecurities, embracing yourself for all you are in that present frame.

The word grace grants some forgiveness. They don't call the six-month break before having to pay student loans a grace period for nothing! (Pure forgiveness for being broke as hell, I guess). But in terms of combatting obstacles life presents you, there is forgiveness for being in the situation you are in and forgiveness for not being able to provide your whole self to what you had previously committed to. In all we do, we want our entire being engaged, our physical, emotional, and mental capacities in tune and ready to conquer what is next. Sometimes we are not ready for this undertaking, and that is okay. This is where I say those three words.

Give yourself grace.

Give yourself grace so that you can process. Give yourself grace so that you can heal. Give yourself grace so that you can nurture.

Give yourself grace.

Our world today is constantly going, go, go, go. Seldom do we take the time to evaluate if we are ready for life's next plunge. As we give ourselves grace, we grant ourselves the opportunity to become introspective, breathe in, breathe out, and remind ourselves that indeed, we are only human. No, we do not need to do it all. Yes, I am deserving of this self-care and attention. And a thousand times yes, I will conquer whatever it is before me, in due time.

You would be lying to yourself if you told me that you did not get tangled in your thoughts from time to time, that uncertainty doesn't breed a bit of nervousness, or that you have never found yourself frustrated when you have not reached a milestone you thought you would so long ago. We have all been there. In due time, you'll be able to find those three words inked, somewhere, on my body, serving as the utmost reminder that as a human being, we deserve to give ourselves all the grace we need in order to progress through this beautiful, beautiful life. Do I think you should have them tattooed as well? Well, only if you see fit, but if you do anything in this life, make sure to give yourself some grace, too.