*Warning: f-bombs ahead!
I once wrote an article for this platform about the unfuckening, a made-up word but one which packed a sucker punch to the gut, one that was threaded with feels and accurately befitted the situation.
The “Unfuckening,” for those who haven’t read it, summed up the process that we go through between heartbreak and healing. Until finally, we are, well…unfucked.
That process of intense healing is hardcore—a road paved with fear; a pathway that is jagged and dark, with deep lamenting moments; tear-soaked pillows; binged out fridges; empty wine bottles; and deep self-loathing.
It’s also a process full of awakenings, breakthrough moments, new perspectives, richer friendships, self-discovery, and a deeper understanding of ourselves.
After the heartbreak comes the unfuckening—but what comes next?
Most will say it’s acceptance, and if we look at the textbook five stages of grief, acceptance stands tall at the finish line. Heartbreak and grief are BFFs—they are entwined, and whilst acceptance is absolutely standing at the edge of the “unfuckening process” ready to envelop us in its open arms, I think we can go a stage further.
At the end of the unfuckening, once we have met acceptance’s warm embrace, stands “Grace.”
The definition of the word Grace has many interpretations.
Here are the top five:
1. an approval or protection given by God.
2. a willingness to be fair and to forgive
3. bringing honour or credit to (someone or something) by one’s attendance or participation
4. to honour people by taking part in something
5. an added period allowed before something must be done
After a heartbreak, even after healing, even after acceptance, we must apply Grace. To ourselves, to our situation, to all that we do and all that we embody thereafter.
This grace will manifest itself in many ways—much like its varied meaning, it has multiple applications. Grace is the key ingredient that we need to transition from heartbreak to hope. It’s the vitamin that we need to take, the brush stroke we need to paint, the story we need to tell ourselves—over and over again.
So often when we are faced with heartbreak, we beat ourselves up for not being enough, not being good enough, not having what the other wanted. We attack our senses with this rhetoric in a frenzied way. This sustained attack is then projected onto the one who hurt us and it is them we seek to forgive. But, at what stage do we forgive ourselves? Because we need too.
And we can only do that by giving ourselves Grace.
In offering ourselves grace, we subconsciously forgive our pain, forgive our lapse in judgement, and forgive ourselves for losing faith in ourselves—which is exactly what we do amid heartbreak. We repeatedly tell ourselves that we are not enough.
During my own “unfuckening,” I found that learning to trust myself was a much harder task than learning to trust another. The anger that I felt toward myself for “allowing” myself to be this vulnerable, for reading the signs wrong, for falling too hard, for receiving incorrect signals, for being so consistently miserable was immense. That level of disconnect and self-loathing must be accounted for before we can truly feel fully aligned again. Whilst this can be balanced and counteracted in the acceptance phase, we only finally heal that self-inflicted wound by affording ourselves…yep you guessed it: grace.
Feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the next step to take? Apply grace. Feeling ready to forgive and move forward? That is Grace. Giving yourself credit for all that you have survived and endured—Grace. Giving yourself time to consider your next move is Grace, honouring yourself by setting boundaries and creating new rules—also Grace. Reacted in a shitty way and feeling regretful? Apply Grace. Participating in new habits and activities that mean something to you? Again, Grace.
Can you think of a better word? A more important place to be? A deeper level to reach. Embody Grace in all its forms and you will only benefit from it.
Give yourself Grace in abundance: swim in it, wash in it, eat it, sleep with it—devour and digest it. Grace is the fuel that will sustain your healing. It’s the final stage in your recovery. It is the path to inner freedom and it’s the purest form of self-love.
Grace is not a luxury we afford ourselves. Grace is essential. Grace is us applying perspective. It’s us defying our darkest thoughts. It’s overcoming our shame and looking fear dead in the eye. Grace is all that we have lived through and all that we will become. Grace is self-compassion; it is self-love.
Whilst Grace is often a term we hear in the Biblical or even Spiritual realms, it is not something that you have to be religious to understand, or benefit from. Nor do you have to be spiritual or into yoga or have a certificate in mindfulness or any of that. Grace is within us; we must just accept it as the gift that it is.
Grace is the greatest gift we will ever give ourselves.
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” ~ Anne Lamott