The War for Peace

 

It takes work to choose peace.  It is not natural for all of us to simply lay our doubts and fears to rest.  Doubt and fear are often the rule rather than the exception.  

—What did I say?

—What if she thought…when I meant….

—I look like shit.

—Why did she say that?

—If only I could….

—I should have said…

—I wish…

To silence those thoughts takes discipline.  It is an act of war on the part of you that won’t let you be peaceful.  What an odd concept, that in order to quiet the belligerent self-talk we have to go to war with ourselves.  Frequently I have to say to myself,

shhhh.  You’re OK.  It’s OK if she thought that.  She was wrong.  It’s OK if you said that, you made a mistake.  Put on some grown up clothes and makeup if you feel gross.  Who cares why she said that?  You can.  Learn.  Be at peace.

It is my hope that one day I won’t have to coach myself at all—that I will simply be at peace.  Self-love is a tricky thing.  For as natural as it ought to come to us all, it at times feels like an impossible task.  

I am always upset with myself about something.  

But I realized today that I never stop myself and say, Oh WOW.  You did that so well.  Way to go, Sarah!  I am not sure that saying that to yourself qualifies as peace, but it is the positive side of the negative.  So today I declared war on that Debbie downer side of me that can sometimes pop up.

I got my kids to school today on time and in peace.  When I hugged my daughter goodbye she bounced off ready to face the day.  When I hugged my son goodbye he bounced off ready to face the day.  As my baby Leah explores her world she leans on me in complete trust knowing I will catch her if she falls; she operates in the world in total confidence.  I am not a perfect parent, not by any stretch of the imagination.  (See, there I go again.)  But my kids feel loved, and I saw that today as they walked out into the world.  

And just that fact was enough to quiet those voices.  I could have chosen to ignore what I accomplished today.  We often overlook as insignificant these little things we do to contribute to the lives of our children and therefore ourselves.  

Yeah but that’s nothing.  That’s not some amazing career, it’s just getting the kids to school.  Big deal you took your kids to school.  HOORAY!  

Silencing those words and thoughts that take bites out of your wholeness takes strength and peace and love of oneself.  Today what it requires is that I pat myself on the back.  In recognizing a job well done in the simplest task I have somehow declared war and fought for peace all at the same time.

Good job Mommy.  You’re OK.

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8 thoughts on “The War for Peace

  1. Liz says:

    You are better than ok. Smile!

  2. Jessica says:

    This is absolutely, perfectly, spot-on. I wept. Thank you for your words.

  3. Liz says:

    This is truly marvelous. You have put into words so beautifully the daily battle I’ve had with myself for the past eight months. You are a most gifted writer, my dearest friend. Love you!

  4. Anne Cohen says:

    I would have given anything to be a stay-at-home mother. There is no career great enough to surpass the joys of rearing our children, and no money can replace moments lost to the babysitter’s eyes. Your children are immensely fortunate and believe me, so are you. There’s always time for a career but your kids will be gone before you know it. Believe me, I know.

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