Acceptance Is the Key

 God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference — Reinhold Niebuhr

The Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr has been a source of inspiration for many. The twelve step programs use this prayer as often as the twelve steps. I would like to dissect the above first paragraph of the prayer line by line, to help you get a better understanding of what acceptance is and how it helps in everyday living.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

So what are the things that you cannot change? You cannot change people and life lessons. Oh sure, people have manipulated, enslaved and tried to control people. But it is always at a cost, whether it is their anger, hurt, hate, disrespect, or destruction. Who wants to change people in this manner? Not a very healthy or loving person.

Instead accept the person as they are. I know, not an easy thing to do. You think you know better than them. If only he would work, stop drinking, call me, pay more attention to me, and on and on. Put yourself in their shoes. How do you feel when someone tries to change you? Do you resist? Of course you do. It may sound cruel, but if someone wants to drink themselves to death, let them, you cannot stop them. God gave free will to each and every one of us as a gift. Respect their free will; accept them as they are because that is part of unconditional love.

I get tons of calls from women asking when their man is going to open up to them more. The answer my guides give me vary with each client: he does not know how to communicate his feelings, he shows you how much he loves you but cannot talk about it, he will never open up to you, slowly but surely he is opening up to you, or he opens up to you more than he ever has with anyone in his life. Often the client will respond, but how can I get him to open up more? The answer is acceptance. How would they like it if their mate said, I wish she was not so open and shut down a little? They would hate it.

OK, I let you in on a secret, when you accept someone for who they are there are many rewards. Which are trust, honesty, acceptance of who you are, wanting to be around you, open communication and the person opening up to you more. This is a process, the rewards come slowly. Many think that personal relationships should happen as instantly as a microwave cook. Allow the relationship to be made from scratch, simmer, and cook at a low temperature. It will taste better.

Courage to change the things I can

So what can you change? Me, myself and I. That is it, you can only change YOU. What about yourself can you make different: your attitude, your reaction, self improvement, going after your goals and how you allow others to treat you. If you are unhappy in your job, it would be rare that someone is going to walk up to your doorstep and offer the perfect career or business to you. If you are counting on the lottery to save you, do not hold your breath. The choices are quit and deal with the consequences, stay in your present position, update your resume and find a new job. Or get educated in your new career choice or start a business on the side. Change does not happen overnight, it takes prayer and patience, but it is well worth it.

Many of my clients are trying to make their mate change, which never works. You cannot make someone be faithful, commit, more supportive, get a divorce, stop drinking and the list goes on. The one thing you can change is your attitude and action. One of my clients was in a relationship with a man who she felt was taking advantage of her, and he was. My guides told her to put her foot down and not accept unacceptable behavior. She did, they broke up for a few months, but her boyfriend came back a changed man. So by changing her behavior, she helped him change. Their relationship has improved and they are now engaged. Does this work in every case? Of course not, some go on to find someone better and others stay stuck in a relationship that does not fulfill them.

And the wisdom to know the difference

This one is a no-brainer. You can only change yourself. So if you are trying to change your mate, parent, child, friend, coworker, neighbor or pet, it is not going to work. Trying to change someone will only end up making you angry, sad, frustrated and disappointed. The person you try to change will end up angry and insulted. The relationship could be harmed or end. With God’s help, have the wisdom to change yourself.

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