Updated: Apr 17, 2020
I grew up in a religious home, where Sunday service and saying one's prayers before going to bed was a must. One of my earliest and fondest memories was the Saturday ritual of cleaning ornaments at my great-aunt's house. There were representations of God and Christian sayings all over the living room, the dining room, the bathroom, and hung above every doorway. Oddly enough, none were in the bedrooms; however, these same ornaments were to used as launching missiles to abate an argument.
But I digress
Of the many religious plaques that hung on the wall, one was a poem written in calligraphy. You should know it... let’s read it aloud:
As I grew older, I learned the name of the poem. It is called The Serenity Prayer. Yet, it's only been within the past two years that I began to comprehend the wisdom of the prayer. You may wonder why it took me so long?
Allow me to explain:
If you are anything like me, CONTROL is my first name. Call it an Alpha or Type A personality, chump it up to astrology, whatever you like. I am at my happiest when things go my way (cue Frank Sinatra, "I did it my way"). I had a hard time accepting the things I could not change, nor the wisdom to know the difference. I somehow felt responsible for other people's "bad" decisions. I honestly believed that "I" could have done something to help them make a better decision.
Then, one day, I had an "aha" moment when a life coach told me that everyone has "free will." He said, "It is their decision to make; it is now your decision to react to it." And there lies the meat of the matter: The "wisdom to know the difference" on things we cannot change.
The truth is, people are not robots, and you are probably thinking, duh, I know that, but do you... really? Because if we did, it would save us a lot of heartache. Understanding that everyone has the power of choice is the most freeing thing ever. Knowing that being a positive role model in someone's life, sacrificing yourself to help them, does not mean they will receive or reciprocate.
So, here are some actions you can employ that have helped me along the way:
1)Take inventory of the people who make frequent emotional withdrawals from you. A key sign that this is happening is that you usually feel "drained" after interacting with them.
2) Put barriers or boundaries in place for those people who make constant withdrawals to your serenity, such as limiting frequent engagement, redirecting negative conversations, and temporarily blocking phone calls. In short, restrict or remove those who disturb your peace of mind.
3) Have a heart-to-heart discussion with the "withdrawers." If they care about you, they will listen and make a change. If not, let go of any guilt or false sense of obligation, and… RUN!
4) Lastly, speak positive affirmations to yourself. For instance, say out loud:
“I am Enough."
“I embrace love, peace, and happiness."
“I am beautiful [or handsome]."
My best lesson learned? In the end, accept the things you cannot change, i.e., other people. Love, Forgive... and Move on.
How have you been able to release the need to be responsible for others and control outcomes? Let me know in the comments below and happy living!
Edited by DhBonner