The Serenity Prayer: philosophy for a peaceful life. Image courtesy of Joyce Geleynse at Dreamstime.com
The Serenity Prayer states To the God or Goddesses of our own understanding, Give us the courage to accept the things that we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I have found this prayer to be an invaluable philosophy for living life.
It can be hard to live with uncertainty. One thing humans almost universally have in common is the desire for some sort of certainty; some illusion of control in their lives. This is understandable - no-one likes to live with the knowledge that anything could happen, and there’s nothing, absolutely nothing they can do about it. Unfortunately, though, this is the case. Loved ones can die, natural disasters can occur or we may never find ‘the one.’
We are all aware of the things that we can change, and the courage required to effect this. However, we also forget there is something about the things we cannot change that we paradoxically do have control over. We can control how we react to the uncertainties, the things we can’t control.
The most of important thing we can control is not to waste our time, and make ourselves miserable by focussing on “what ifs.” Most of these never even happen. It’s almost like we think by worrying about these things we can prevent them from occurring.
The key to coming to terms with the “what ifs” that do eventuate is to know we do have control over how we handle them; our reactions to them. But wait until these things come about. Do not torture yourself prematurely about when and if they will occur. You will be spending time on not accepting the things you can’t change, that you steal from your own energy that you could use to mount courage to change the things you can.
Essentially it is the wisdom to know the difference that we’ve got to work on. Nail that, and the Serenity Prayer is a great guide to the most peaceful and fulfilling life that you can have. Stop the struggle and start living.