My peace belongs to me, but it is so easy to give it away or let someone take it. One gem I have heard in Al‑Anon meetings is “Don’t take the bait.” I may be quite happy and in a good mood, but if a loved one makes a criticism and I choose to engage or defend myself, my good mood will slip away. I simply don’t have to take the bait; I can acknowledge that I heard what was said and then change the subject or let them know I am going for a walk. It is my choice whether or not I get into an argument. I don’t have to attend every argument I am invited to; I have a choice. Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?—as the saying goes.

I am so used to defending myself that I often fail to realize that I don’t have to. What other people think of me is none of my business. Certainly, I can take their words in, and I may even decide to make a few changes in the future or not. I can take what may be useful information and leave the rest. I am the keeper of my mood and attitude; I don’t have to be a victim. I am powerless over other people, but I can adjust my part in it. I can choose happiness and keep my peace. Today, I will choose to keep my peace.

By Steve R., Maryland

The Forum, May 2019