Pick Your Battles Carefully

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Practice when to take acton and when to let go

An empty interior with a door shaped like a keyhole

We arrived as scheduled at the hotel of choice for a two-week stay. It’s always been one of my favorites. My husband and I checked into our room, only to discover that we were located directly above the garbage dump, the loading dock, and the motorcycle pit. As I’ve learned to do, I took responsibility for my feelings and call the manager for assistance.

“We’re regular visitors to this hotel,” I said. “Can you move us to another room, please?” “I’m sorry. I’m not able to change your room without assessing an additional $250 charge. That’s the hotel’s policy.”

A little put off by his unwillingness to accommodate us, I asked, “Is it hotel policy to put regular customers over the garbage dump?” Undisturbed by my obvious disapproval, he simply said, “There was nothing we can do for you at this time. You can check back with me in a few days.”

“What about a dinner voucher for my husband and me for the inconvenience? It’s very noisy over the loading dock, and the smell of the garbage dump seeps into our window,” I said. “No, I’m sorry. We are not able to provide that for you at this time. I can, however, offer you a free drink at the pool.”

When I got off the phone, I was livid and gave myself permission to be mad for about an hour.

Then I read Step Three and recited the Serenity Prayer.

Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In that moment, I thought, “What can’t I change?” First, I couldn’t change the hotel manager’s mind. I asked, he said no. Second, I couldn’t stop the noise from the garbage dump, the unloading of the truck, or the motorcycles revving up. And third, I couldn’t get another room without paying more money.

Then I thought, “What can I change?” All I could think of was myself and my attitude. That was it. I repeated the Serenity prayer and I knew I had a choice – actually, lots of choices. What were my choices? To move to a different room and pay the extra fee. To stay in the room and accept the situation as it is. To stay in the room, complaint for two weeks, allow resentment to destroy my vacation, and then blame the manager.  Or demand my money back and go to another hotel. They were all valid choices. Someone better than others. And I could to make my choice. The wisdom to know the difference is about having the courage to choose wisely and carefully. It’s knowing or what I can control and what I can’t. After talking it over with my husband, we decided to pay the extra money to a more comfortable room.

There are times when it’s appropriate to fight a battle because of the principal. There are times to know when it’s best to let go and claim victory in the letting go. Knowing when to do which is the challenge, and the gift. The wisdom to know the difference.

All we can change it ourselves: our attitude, our behavior, or feelings, and our beliefs. Nothing more. We can’t change other people’s attitudes, behaviors, feelings, or beliefs.