Updated: Dec 15, 2020
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and Wisdom to know the difference."
This quote, and apt general philosophy for life, has helped me immensely as it has reminded and encouraged me to accept things that are out of my direct influence. We can't control what happens in the world around us or how others perceive us. We can't change their perception of us or how they treat us. But what we can do, and what we do have control over is how we respond to others. I think what's key is that we are at peace and at one with the things that we can not change. We need to be able to recognize and accept these things that cause us distress because, quite frankly, without that acceptance, we will never have resolution and that can drive a person crazy!
A perfect example of this, and something that I have seen and helped people with time and time again, is an individual's relationship with their parents and siblings. Countless clients who I have helped have complained about not feeling 'good enough' for their parents, for not feeling valued or never being told or shown that they are great just as they are.... they've never been told by their parents that they are proud of them (despite them doing absolutely everything that has been unfairly expected from them). Nothing has ever been enough and this feeling can leave people feeling unfilled, unloved and vulnerable. These unresolved and often unidentified feelings tend to then overspill into relationships that people have with their partners, their spouses and most unfortunately, themselves. And that's where the change work needs to start.
We have to work on ourselves- we have to know what the triggers are and what makes us react the way that we do to certain people and events and then recondition our minds to respond differently so that we accept and understand that everyone has a different way of understanding the world around them- and that's ok. Changing our thinking so that we are able to do this is a really wonderful way of protecting ourselves because then, when we do this, we are not giving others our power. Ultimately, only you should have the power to make yourself feel a certain way and when we let others make us feel a certain way, then we relinquish that power. To condition ourselves to think this way takes us away from how we have probably lived for most of our lives, so it takes a lot of courage to make that change.
It's less easy to make changes, particularly when you've been doing things the way you have been your whole life. As we grow up, we are massively influenced and conditioned by the world around us. We build our values and beliefs around our experiences and obviously, we're not consciously aware of all that happens as it gets stored away. Unfortunately, some of what is stored is a bad experience which can make us behave in a certain way that doesn't always serve us. For example, if as a child you are neglected and you as a toddler, find happiness and solace in food, the chances are that this will continue through to adulthood and it can lead to issues with weight. This is why change-work at the unconscious level is key to making lasting change.
Finally, I think wisdom comes with age and experience... it comes after the heartache and the frustration from years and years of not accepting the things we can't change.- of not knowing that it's actually an option. Personally, I wish I had known about acceptance sooner, although even knowing this wonderful life lesson now is a true blessing.