Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
This is the foundational prayer of 12 step community around the world but is also used by millions of people who are not in recovery. Serenity, courage, and wisdom. Three essential spiritual principles by which we learn to live, on which we learn to thrive, and through which we practice acceptance. Serenity
Stand in front of the ocean and try to stop the next incoming wave. Have any luck? Try it again. You’re unlikely to succeed. In life, there are many things which we cannot change. Serenity comes to us from learning to accept those things. Unfortunately, not all of the things we cannot change are obvious. Through the therapeutic work of recovery, we identify the things we have adopted a belief about and created habits for in our effort to change what is not in our control. We try to change other people. We try to change the way other people think, feel, behave, and act. We try to control external factors that we cannot. Serenity means accepting things as they are. In a personal story of The Big Book called “He Sold Himself Short”, an author writes, “Acceptance of things as they are has replaced the old impatient chomping at the bit to conquer the world.”
Sometimes it is easier to try and control or change others than it is to change ourselves. Placing the blame of what is wrong on other people relieves us of the responsibility to be accountable for ourselves. Taking an honest look in the mirror is scary! We are afraid of what we might see, that it might be worse than we thought or that we might not be able to “fix” it. Rarely is this true. Everyone is capable of courageous change.
Knowing what you can change and knowing what you cannot change is the true wisdom of acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean you condone what isn’t right or you permiss things that hurt you. It means you are wise enough to know you have to change how you relate to the world, not how the world is. As Michael Jackson famously sang, “If you want to make the world a better place, better look at yourself and make the change.”
Enlightened Solutions strives to help each client make the necessary changes in their lives so they can live without chemical dependency on drugs and alcohol.Our integrative program fuses traditional twelve step theory with holistic methods of healing. For more information, call us at 833-801-5483.
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