I have whispered The Serenity Prayer many times over the past eighteen months. It is a simple one with the focus on changing that which we can and accepting that which we cannot.
But change isn’t always that simple. We are creatures of habit by design. And often, stubbornness is our greatest obstacle. Certainly, it is less frustrating to deny our weaknesses, sheltering our own fragile hearts from the truth of who we sometimes are. But that also keeps us from being who we were meant to be. It is rather uncomfortable to look into the mirror and see the good, the bad, and the ugly that is reflected there. But a bit of introspection, along with a sprinkling of brutal honesty, is sometimes necessary in order to effect personal change and growth. Motivation to embark on a journey of self-improvement begins here, with a strong desire to embrace the new.
Of course, acceptance isn’t without self-imposed hurdles either. We often rage against the unfairness of circumstances, becoming bitter when life seems unjust, or when those we love turn cold and unsympathetic. We can’t help but question why things happen, hoping that reasons will somehow give us the strength necessary to understand. It isn’t easy to surrender to the will of the universe. But often, we must, yielding our emotional frustration and pain in order to survive.
So much of the struggle in this world, from political authority to interpersonal and professional relationships is about power. We are often engaged in a tug of war with ourselves and each other. And in the “see saw” of daily living, battles are waged, the fights which often nobody wins. This modern world is stressful, no doubt, filled with challenges and impossible demands. Peace is the reward to the victor. And trust me: it is quite the prize.
Quite simply, I have learned that in order to live a harmonious life, I must focus on what I can control. The idea has been liberating, freeing my mind from ridiculous demands that aren't important in the final analysis. I have an ongoing list that I keep as a daily reminder. In the spirit of sharing, I though I'd pass it along in the hopes that you might find it useful.
I can control
who I allow into my life.
what I believe to be true.
what I put into my body.
what I bring into my home.
what I buy with my money.
my emotions before I speak.
what limits I place on myself.
what negative beliefs I can discard.
what I do with my spare time.
how kind I am to others.
how often I pray.
how I react to a given situation.
who I trust with my heart.
whose opinion I allow to influence mine.
what I think about who I am.
what I say to myself.
For me, this has been a major shift in thinking, a replacement for the to-do list that comes along with embracing a new year. In the past, my resolutions never lasted, which only served to make me feel worse about my ability to commit to something long term. This year, I am reminded that I am a work in progress. And like the preface to this prayer suggests, I am learning to live one day at a time.