I was thinking about the part of the serenity prayer that says “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”.
Now, I’m not going to try and fool you into thinking that I go to NA/AA meetings all the time by talking the talk.
But, I do want to point out that there are a lot of things that I took away from my time in NA/AA that I find useful in my everyday life.
One of the things that I feel that I’ve struggled with has been the whole accepting the things I cannot change. Rationally I know the importance of this acceptance but I have struggled to take that rational thought and put it to use in my life.
That was until I heard myself telling my son “you do what you can, the very best that you can, and that is all you can do”. Boom! How simple. But could it truly be that simple to accept the things I cannot change?
What I’ve come to realize over the past week or so is that depending upon the situation you are faced with, it is to be expected that you are going to struggle over the possibility of whether or not you can change something.
There are some cut and dry type things like due to an unexpected expense, like your car needing work, you find yourself with a very small budget for the week. Out of this very small budget you need to be able to get gas and feed your family.
There isn’t anything you can do about the money you find yourself with for the week. That is the part of the equation that you cannot change. What you can do is to do your very best to spend that money wisely until you find yourself in a better situation money wise.
In this situation it would do you no good to get mad or sad about your budget. By getting mad or sad you are not at all changing the outcome of how much money you have for the week. So you accept the situation the way it is. The only thing that you have control over is how you deal with it.
In life you run into situations that make this money situation look like a day in the park. It is in those situations where it is completely appropriate to struggle with accepting the things you cannot change.
Just as a for instance, a while back I was faced with the situation of having a sibling that was in active addiction. He hadn’t admitted to himself that there was a problem and certainly was not at the point of accepting help.
That situation left me struggling with the idea that ultimately I couldn’t do anything to change it. I had to accept it, ride it out, do what I could with what I was left with and wait for it to play out. It was hard but I did it…I had no choice in the matter.
Now, all in all, the two situations I explained had the same components:
- Being faced with a situation
- Examining the situation to see if you can have any effect on the overall outcome
- Accepting the situation for what it is and doing the very best that you can to deal with it in a healthy way
I now feel that by putting the “accept the things I cannot change” to use in even the smallest of situations in life I am learning a thought process that will allow me to lead a more peaceful life.
In the future when faced with a more complicated situation I’m hoping that because of practice I will better be able to spot and accept the things that I cannot change.