The serenity prayer, made popular by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve step recovery groups goes like this: 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. It’s a simple request with profound consequences. I don’t know about you, but I have to pray it several times a day.
Yet it appears that many of us prefer misery over serenity. We constantly want to change the things around us that cannot change such as the circumstances of our jobs, our daily commute, the cost of groceries, and other matters that are “out there”. But if we really enjoy this kind of misery, allow me to suggest a prescription that will bring our misery to a higher level: focus on changing the other people rather than focusing on changing ourselves.
I recently had a revelation while being talking with my life coach. I was complaining that when sharing the story of a personal struggle with someone close to me, I felt my friend wasn’t really hearing me. I was impatient and felt dismissed by what I judged to be her cavalier responses to me. My coach suggested that maybe she’s responding to me the best she knows how. Maybe I am trying to change her to make more to my liking. Hmm. That got me thinking about how self-serving I can sometimes be in my relationships. In doing so cut myself off from people who may not meet my needs as I define it rather than accepting them for who they are and the ways they DO support me.
Who are the people you want to change in any way? Now point the finger to yourself and ask what change in attitude or behavior needs to change in your life in order for you to be more accepting of the other as they are, and more empowered to live your life as you are? What would your life be like if the energy you put into changing others or wanting to change others were put into moving your life purpose forward?
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