Earlier this month, I was getting a facial (something I have never done before but now cannot wait to do again – hello smooth skin!) and as we were starting, the esthetician mentioned that my long hair needed to be swept away from my face and neck and so she went looking for something to tie it back with. I immediately said, “I’m so sorry, I obviously should have brought a hair tie, I didn’t even think of it!” and then, reassuringly, she responded with, “It’s okay, it’s not your fault.” These four words – it’s not your fault – had an instant calming effect and took away all shame that I was feeling for not being prepared to have the facial done. I recognize that this is such a small, pretty insignificant example but grace is grace and letting me off the hook that I immediately placed myself on made me feel normal. All the automatic thoughts I had of, “What am I even doing here – I can’t even prepare the right way for this service”, “I’m so embarrassed – she must think I’m an idiot”, and “I’m totally inconveniencing her” just melted away. As a therapist who specializes in trauma, I spent much of the facial thinking about how those four words are so rarely used, especially when needed the most. We live in a culture of victim-blaming and shaming which results in people, mostly women, walking around always feeling like they’re doing something wrong or causing their own pain. I hope more of us can bestow grace on others by speaking the words, “It’s not your fault”, whenever we see someone in distress over a perceived wrongdoing. It’s exactly how we’d like to be treated, right?