A Metronomic Approach to Grace.

By: Jen Shoop

I recently came across a sappy list of “daily habits to practice for a better life” while infinity scrolling on Instagram. Many of them were canned, re-heated aphorisms but one went like this:

“Try to go an entire day without criticizing someone else.”

Magpies —

This challenge has proven difficult for me, an admission that is a strident comeuppance, as I have positioned “grace” (for myself, for others) as a daily intention for years now — and this practice proved a rough rubric to stomach. I was shocked by the fluidity of the petty criticisms: “C’mon, lady, pick a lane!” while driving, and “What on earth is he doing? Paying in pennies?” while waiting in line behind a protracted transaction at the till. They tumbled through my mind and occasionally off my tongue with untrammeled ease. And I was disappointed by the way I’d find myself censuring even ridiculous, unimportant things, like someone else’s chosen logistics for the weekend. What on earth? What an absurd waste of energy.

Of course, none of us are saints, and I think it is human to observe the behavior of others and contemplate the delta between what they’ve chosen to do and what we might have. Sometimes those differences are illuminating. Sometimes they help us double down on our own values, our own ways of being, and other times, they open new and generative pathways. (For example, I learned a lot about myself reflecting on the berth between myself and my former colleague, Nate.)

But honestly? A lot of the criticisms I clocked generated nothing. A fistful of zilch.

I’m grateful for the prompt because — though I can’t say the criticisms don’t form, unbidden, in my mind — I find myself aggressively swatting them away once they materialize. It is a new, metronomic approach to finding more grace in my life — something with more tacticality than, say, repeating the word “grace” to myself in the morning.

If you’re feeling up to it today, try it on for size and see what happens — do you find yourself more critical at certain times of day? In certain contexts? Are there small ones we can learn to “swat away” reflexively?


+Gardening for yourself.


+A humble beginning to an old habit.

Shopping Break.

+I’ve shared these boots a million times, but they’re worth a plug every now and then, because they are my most-worn winter boot. They are ultra-comfortable, ultra-warm, and I love the ease of just sliding them onto my foot. I went up a size because I am often wearing with thick winter socks, and they fit perfectly. They are much lighter weight than they look!

+I’ve mentioned a few times how impressed I am with this hair primer/detangler my hair stylist introduced me to, and my sister has raved about the rest of the Olaplex haircare line for some time now. I just started using this shampoo on her rec and WOW — it really is clarifying! My hair feels squeaky clean afterward. I am probably in the minority here, but I prefer my haircare (and even lotions) to be scented — I know a lot of people have fragrance sensitivities but I LIKE a luxe scent that lingers. Olaplex is basically scent-less so I decided to pair with my favorite-scented shampoo, Davines’ Oi, which I haven’t used in years, and WOW. It is also an excellent product (conditions/hydrates/softens deeply), and the scent is beyond divine. This pairing feels like a dream. The shampoo thoroughly removes everything from your hair and then the conditioners re-hydrates and leaves hair silky smooth. It’s a fabulous shower experience.

+I love a white button-down with a little added frill/ruffle/trim. Great for tucking into jeans and pairing with ballet flats (<<love these silver ones) when you’re uninspired by your closet.

+Manolo vibes for $160. LOVE.

+FUN little dress.

+Bottega or Mansur Gavriel vibes for less — such a chic and versatile clutch for warmer months/travel.

+Take your Valentine’s Day outfit to the next level. So fun! Tuck into high-waisted denim.

+This $35 dress reminds me of something from Ciao Lucia.

+I mentioned recently we’re in the earliest stages of thinking about going to Disney World next year and…now I can’t stop wanting to buy all things Disney for my children? Like do I need these adorable sandals for mini while on sale?!

+Sandals (for me) that spark joy.

+Tiny, portable, rechargeable vac to keep in your car. Bonus points for aesthetics.

+This printed dress is $100 off and so fun.

+Fab shades.

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2 thoughts on “A Metronomic Approach to Grace.

  1. Yikes, that prompt is convicting all right! Especially with little ears taking in all that we say. I heard my two year old repeat “that’s not a parking spot, people!” from the back seat yesterday, eek. (People tend to park in the fire lane at a shopping center we frequent). I think I will try…but not today or tomorrow as we will be at the hospital for appointments/tests/scan for my older daughter. Just have to get through these days without any extra pressure on myself! Especially since the hospital parking structure is a prime spot for handing out criticism! 😉

    1. SO glad (impressed? proud?) you have that awareness, e.g., that today is NOT the day to add another filter to your life. Another day, another challenge! Sending you good vibes!!

      I also had a similar experience with my daughter recently — we were waiting for someone to get out of a parking spot and she was taking forever, and my daughter chimed in: “What is she DOING over there?!” with a faux impatience that reminded me of myself. Yikes!!!


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