Steps to Serenity
We’ve talked about what serenity is, and it sounds like a pretty good deal! How do we get to a serene mind?
As we discussed earlier, serenity is not a physical place. While there are special nooks in our lives that may act as “safe places,” the ultimate and unassailable safe place is inside our own minds.
The same place that can give birth to worry and anxiety can also generate (with work and practice) a safe haven from the pressures we face.
“Building serenity” is an ongoing process. It’s not something that’s ever really finished and done.
Serenity needs to be maintained.
If that sounds like hard work, think about all the mental energy you invest in anxiety, dread, and worry. How much energy do we expend trying to prepare for an endless number of potential possible negative outcomes?
The answer is of course, tons. In fact, the first step in building serenity is to re-direct energy from negative thinking to building and maintaining our serenity.
Notice I didn’t say, or imply, “turn negative thinking into positive thinking”. That’s a worthy concept, but I want to emphasize the real here.
Things are not always going to be ok. Bad things do happen. It can be super tough to keep our thoughts positive when the world around us is collapsing.
Serenity, on the other hand, emphasizes a realistic view of things, both external to us and internal. Serenity at heart is the idea that you are going to be ok. You are competent and capable.
So let’s talk about the first steps of serenity!
Re-direct energy from negative thinking, worry and dread toward accepting yourself as you are. This is a toughie. But you have much more going for you than you might think.
Start giving yourself credit for the amazing person you are.
Turn your measure of self-worth inside, instead of relying on others to validate your worth. Simply put, you get the say so over whether you’re your worthy, worthwhile, and good (hint: you are).
Self-Talk: You don’t have to say it out-loud, but when you’re assailed by the feelings of worry and dread, counter them with a direct mental response. It may be no more complex than saying “hush”.
Once you’ve got that spare bit of mental energy re-directed, start building a safe place—a mental safe place—where you can go when you’re under fire from pressure both external and internal.
In that kingdom of the mind, you reign supreme.
I’m not encouraging delusional thinking. Having a “happy place” is establishing a mental anchor that keeps you centered when stress attempts to send you sailing from one rocky shore to another.
Being “centered” is one of the core principles of serenity. Being awash in dread, anxiety, and stress makes you constantly reactive. Instead of meeting pressure from your own self-concepts, your own ideas, you get tugged about by the situation.
Getting centered is a complex topic, and one we’ll work on next post!