Remember that Seinfeld episode where Frank Costanza is advised by his doctor to say “serenity now” every time he gets angry, as a way to help him lower his blood pressure? Frank is shown raising his hands to the sky, exclaiming “SERENITY NOW!” at all kinds situations. It’s funny, and yet, anybody feeling like this recently?
A lot of us are feeling under pressure, trying to figure out Covid protocols, school re-openings and work/life balance in a pandemic. Trying to decide who to see, when and where, how close to sit, whether or not someone is in our bubble, or should/shouldn’t be? Where we should go, if we should go, if we shouldn’t go, if we even want to go, if we don’t want to go,… sigh, who even knows anymore?
So, how do we make a decision –about ANYTHING – when we’re living with so much anxiety and uncertainty? Maybe Seinfeld was on to something helpful here!
I’d guess that “serenity now!” is a cheeky reference to the “Serenity Prayer”, perhaps best known through use in Alcoholics Anonymous. Whether you ascribe to religious or spiritual beliefs about a higher power or not, maybe we can use the serenity prayer to find a way forward. Consider the stance suggested to us in these words:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Serenity – “the state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled”
Acceptance – “an assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change or protest it”
Courage – “mental or moral strength to venture forth, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”
Wisdom – “good sense, a reliable ability to judge and decide with soundness, prudence, and intelligence”
Here’s a “serenity now” reflection strategy that may help you with decision-making:
- What would this decision look like if I held on to a sense of peace, while I consider what I can accept and as I stand in the courage it will take to make any necessary change?
- What would it be like to recognize that wisdom is making the best choice that I can, with the information that is available, for the reality of my current circumstances?
How this could look in real life:
- Being steady and calm. Then assessing whether or not the needs of your family fit well with the school re-start plan.
- Accepting that the re-start plan may work for some and will be a starting place for schools/districts/government to work from.
- Having courage to speak up for what you need, and making a decision about school that fits your needs and the circumstances of your family.
- Being confident that you know how to make good choices for your family and trusting yourself in that. Remembering that you can re-assess if new information comes out or circumstances change.
- Being okay if other people make choices that are different than yours.
- Being generous and compassionate with yourself and others, especially those who are struggling to feel okay right now.
- Lending our courage and confidence to the children who are watching adults lead in this moment – it really WILL be okay and we really CAN get through this together.
As always, the team at Synergy Counselling is here to help.