Many of us know and love the Serenity Prayer:
Serenity to accept the things we cannot
Courage to change the things we can,
to know the difference.
Many of us spend too much time anxious about things we
cannot change: the economy, the weather, traffic on the freeway, or people who
annoy us. As a result, we don’t have the energy to make the most of the
opportunities we do have.
Recognizing the difference between what we can and cannot
change can help us live more peaceful and productive lives.
Let Go & Let God
Some people have a harder time with the first line of the
Serenity Prayer, accepting the things they cannot change, while others have a
harder time mustering the courage to change what they can. Often these patterns
can be traced to family or cultural conditioning. Reflect on the messages you
received growing up. Were you expected to be passive and submit to what others
wanted? Were you trained to be in control, so that letting go is more difficult
for you today? Sometimes just acknowledging your family or social conditioning
can help you to let go of old patterns that are no longer serving you.
Many spiritual traditions teach that knowing
yourself is a lifelong pursuit, but one that can help you feel more at peace
with yourself and other people. Spending time alone—walking in the woods,
meditating, or journaling—can put you in touch with what's really going on
inside you. When you acknowledge these feelings, you can make a conscious
choice about what to accept and what to change, rather than letting yourself be
ruled by unconscious feelings.
When you get a feeling that something isn't
right, pay attention. That may be a sign of something you need to change. We
human beings have a tremendous ability to deny our inner truths or talk
ourselves out of making changes that might seem scary or difficult at first,
but usually we know what is right deep down. Pay special attention to
intuitions that persist over time or that come with a sense of peace and
clarity. The more you pay attention to your Inner Voice, the more clearly it
will guide you.
Everyone makes mistakes, but many of us waste
too much energy beating ourselves up over them. While psychologists have not
agreed on one standard definition of wisdom, they do agree that one of the
qualities wise people share is the ability to learn from their mistakes. When
things don't go the way you hoped, instead of focusing on what you did wrong or
what someone else did to mess things up, think about what you might do
differently next time.
Monitor your pessimistic thoughts and try to
find evidence to refute them. Psychologists have found it is particularly
helpful to censor categorical words like "never" from your thinking.
Just because something didn't work out last time, that doesn't mean it won't
work next time. Instead of simply repeating positive affirmations, point out to
yourself the things that you can do to bring a more positive result in the
future. Cultivating optimism has been shown to make it much more likely you'll
be able to change the things you can, as well as accept the things you can't.
Life is full of opportunities to let go and
trust. Practice with the little things: a lost earring, a flat tire, or an
uncooperative toddler. In such situations, take a deep breath and monitor your
thoughts. If you are angry or frustrated, don't pretend you are not. Just
observe your own emotion, and then see if you can release it with a deep
breath. For many people, prayer helps. Turning a problem over to a Higher Power
can bring tremendous relief.
Whether it's a religious congregation, a Twelve-Step group, or
just a gang of really good friends, community can help us develop wisdom. We
need people who will tell us when we're acting wimpy or pigheaded, as well as
point out our strengths and encourage them. We also need people who will
support us when we hit tough times and cheer for us when we succeed. If you
don't have such support in your life, think about where you might be able to
find it. If you do have people like that, count them among your blessings.
By Eileen Flanagan
Read the first tip for cultivating wisdom.
Eileen Flanagan is the author of The Wisdom to Know the
Difference: When to Make a Change–and When to Let Go. Visit her website
As Men & Woman of God we have a great deal to be
thankful for in spite of any obstacles the enemy can bring our way, and trust,
if you are doing what is right, there will always be opposition, but this is
about our health and happiness isn’t it? We have to make choices in our lives
that the darkness of days past can, be just that, staying in the past, we have
so much to look forward to when we focus our eyes upon the creator of happiness
and Joy. Be of Great Joy that our days are enriched by the choices we are
making as we Trust in the God that created us in His Grace.. Falcon Better
To accept the things I cannot change,
To change the things I can.
To know the difference one from the other.