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Deadlines, Grace Days, and Giving Up The Pressure To Be Perfect

By: Aesha Adams-Roberts

 

One of my greatest challenges as a college student was procrastination.  I'd pull an all-nighter trying to cram for a test or write a paper, all the while beating myself up for waiting until the last minute to get my work done.  Once I became a college professor, I tried to help my students avoid that way of thinking. I warned them that unless they had an emergency, a deadline was a deadline. They would be penalized for late papers.  "This will help you in the 'Real World',"  I taught them. Boy, was I wrong!

Yes, there are some "Real World" deadlines we can't ignore (like filing your taxes , paying your bills, or getting a check up). However, much of life and relationships aren't governed by an external deadline, yet we still act like they are. We say things like: 

 "I'm 30 and still single! I'll NEVER get married"  

"We've been married 5 years and haven't started a family!"  

"That's it! If he doesn't apologize tomorrow, I'll never speak to him again!"

"AAACK! The laundry is piling up, the dishes aren't done, I'm such a horrible mom!"

We create unnecessary pressure and stress in our relationships and personal life when we live like this.  There is another way! 

While I was teaching my students about the "Real World" of deadlines, my colleague was giving her students "Grace Days." Papers were due at the beginning of class but I'm not inflexible, she told them.  They were given 5 grace days during which they could hand in a paper without penalty–no questions asked!  Wow! What a lesson. She taught her students that life happens, and when it does, we need to be flexible enough to focus on what's most important. No guilt, no stress, just flexibility. 

Question: What would your life and relationships look like if you gave yourself (and others) a little grace? Please share below!