God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr [Serenity Prayer]
The Serenity prayer cited above gives a clear indication to human beings to lead a fulfilling life. If the reader is an atheist or agnostic, you are requested to ignore the word ‘God’ and continue reading other words! You can supplant ‘God’ with other words such as ‘Spirit’,’ Universe’ or something meaningful to your soul.
Let’s go through each line in the above prayer and understand the implications. Each line is soaked with timeless wisdom.
‘grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change’
There are many things that you & I cannot change individually – our skin color, parents, family environment, government policies, economy, conflict with neighboring countries, recession, tax laws etc. Since we cannot change them, it’s better to make terms with them and accept the reality with grace.
‘The Courage to change the things I can’
There is supreme power and energy in this line. Once we accept the things we cannot change with serenity, we will realize that there are countless things that we can actually change. Every choice we make from moment to moment in our life, we have an opportunity to make the right choice! For example, getting up early, working out to get in shape, treating other people well, being assertive, seeking help from a coach, eating healthy food, reflecting on our values & life purpose, pursuing our passions, following our callings and so on… All we need is the courage to act and move in the right path.
‘And the wisdom to know the difference’
The third line calls for the discernment to distinguish between things we can change and the ones we cannot change. When we try to change something that we cannot change and passionately hate it, we get derailed from our path of action. Our energy will be spent on areas of least importance. By the same token, we need to become aware of life areas that we can change and stop labeling them as immutable. Let us remember – ‘Stress comes from NOT doing what we know we should be doing’. When this wisdom and discernment is missing, we experience a lot of heartburn and frustration. Elevating this discernment should become a high priority in our daily schedule. This can happen only through personal development, self-reflection and self-analysis.
Serenity, courage and wisdom are three most important jewels in the crown of human consciousness.
I strongly recommend you to stick the Serenity prayer on your desktop or pin-up board as a constant reminder.
PS: I acknowledge the graphics from the internet.