Desperately Seeking Serenity

Sometimes our serenity is right in front of us and sometimes we have to go out looking for it.

One thing’s for sure, we can’t depend on anyone else to GIVE us our serenity. In fact, it’s very likely that someone is going to try and take it. Maybe not intentionally, like in the show Firefly, but by distracting us, diverting our attention, trying to make us buy, give, do, or believe something that we don’t want just because it benefits them.

I believe we find serenity when our actions align with our beliefs. When we act according to how we feel, we are being what’s called our “authentic selves”. Which is the latest way of saying, “be honest about who you are”.

When we’re born, it’s an easy thing to do. We’re hungry, tired, or uncomfortable so we cry. Then we learn language and are told to be quiet, don’t bother people, don’t be rude, don’t stand out, don’t cause a scene and we learn to hide our true feelings and thoughts.

We encounter people with their gorram opinions and discover peer pressure. In our quest to be liked or loved, we begin to give a little on our own opinions and begin to question our own minds. Once this happens we really start feeling lost and unsure, which makes it even easier for other people to tell us what to think and believe. It’s a vicious cycle that’s easy to be trapped in and there goes peace of mind right out the window.

Verbalizing our opinions and desires is what helps shape our lives. Our thoughts affect our actions which create our reality. When we just nod our head and go along with the crowd, we’re not creating a life that suits us. We are just existing in a shadow of a life, a shadow of someone else’s making. 

What keeps us in this shadow is fear: fear of loss, fear of embarrassment or being “found out”, fear of being left behind, fear of being hated or missing out on something.

My life used to be a fake copy of other people’s dreams and ideas. I hunted because that was cool to the people I was around the most. I drank cheap beer because they all did. I loved riding motorcycles, but I didn’t love the biker look or lifestyle. I wore the clothes anyway because I was expected to and anytime I went to a rally, I felt like I was in some kind of costume. Needless to say, I had a hard time making friends because I didn’t want anyone getting too close and realizing what a fake I was. It’s kind of sad really because the motorcycle lifestyle is a life of freedom. I didn’t feel free.

There were some very opinionated people in my life who said things like “you don’t really believe that” and “you’re a bleeding heart liberal”, whenever I was brave enough to voice my opinion. I heard these statements enough times that I began to think something was really wrong with me for not thinking the same as everyone else.

At the time I couldn’t really see the damage this was doing to me and I didn’t know that anything bad was happening. I was often depressed and endured so much anxiety that I would break down, screaming and crying in the middle of the kitchen floor. That was a side effect of not being myself. It was a painful way to live and finally became more painful than getting out, so I did.

It was a scary process, but I finally started making my own way. Painting and writing are two of the things that helped me get through it. I stumbled a lot. I cried a lot. I’m not at complete peace and serenity yet, and that’s okay. I’ve learned it’s a process and I’m learning to enjoy it.

Recently, I had someone tell me they noticed how “mature” I’ve become. I realized they’re right. I’m different than I used to be. At first, I thought, “Is this just because I’m older?” and I realized it’s not. Older does not equal wiser. Personal growth doesn’t happen accidentally. It takes effort and focus, which I will continue to employ and continue sharing with you.

May you find Serenity,

Sheila

 

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