“God, grant me the serenity to do everything that is necessary on my to-do list, courage to say “no” to things that do not require my immediate attention and not feel guilty about it and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Serenity is defined as “the state or quality of being serene, calm or tranquil.” You have three conference calls today, the kids are getting ready to go back to school, you need an oil change, you have no grocery or clean clothes, you are expected to plan your friend’s baby shower (this would be your third baby shower this month), you forgot to call your mother back, you haven’t slept eight hours straight since you were thirteen and you can’t remember the last time you ate some food that didn’t come out of a drive through window. Where is the serenity in that?
My question would be: when do you say no? And, if you have no choice, how do you hold on to your serenity?
There are certain things that we cannot control. The children HAVE to go back to school If our boss comes in and tells us we HAVE to participate in a conference call, chances are we have to participate. However, if it interferes with something else we have to do (our gym time, lunch with a friend we haven’t seen, our massage), would it hurt to ask if your presence is really required? Some of us are on “automatic pilot” and we believe that the only things that are negotiable are the promises we make to ourselves.
Most of our lives get out of control because we put everything else in front of what WE need. Our serenity becomes optional. We will run ourselves into the ground to keep everything else afloat except for our own lives. When life gets too busy for us to cook our own food, wash our clothes, SLEEP then adjustments have to be made. Sometimes it’s lack of time management. Most of the time is guilt. A lot of us feel it is our DUTY to be in fifty places at one time, to provide for everyone’s need and to put our head down on the pillow feeling resentful, empty, overwhelmed, stressed, heavy, angry……any of those sound familiar?
Begin the process of doing what NEEDS to be done first. And taking care of yourself belongs in that category. As long as you bend over, people will load things on your back. You have to be willing to get off the ground, stop digging that hole and letting people push you in with things you either do not have time for or really don’t want to do. Saying “NO” is not mean or hateful. Sometimes, it’s necessary. When you are standing straight up, you will be able to see the sunshine and, more importantly, you will realize that the sky didn’t fall because you let something go.
When you are in the flow of your own life, doing what you can do, doing away with the rest, make YOU a priority, you won’t have to look for your serenity. You will be covered in it.