“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”
I’ve said the serenity prayer thousands of times in my life. It was one of the first prayers I ever learned. My Pop-Pop had it sitting in a frame on his desk when I was a child. He was a recovering alcoholic and that was their mantra.
I’m a control freak. I want everyone to act according to my plans and beliefs. This never happens and only sets me up for disappointment and frustration.
Recently I have come to understand what the serenity to accept the things cannot change means. Serenity comes from letting go of expectations and allowing people and things to be whatever they are going to be. Being in control of myself and not letting other’s actions affect my life and happiness.
When certain people enter my life I feel my anxiety build. I lose focus and have difficulty sleeping at night. I want so much better for them than they want for themselves. I have codependency issues. I feel the need to save them.
I’ve struggled to accept others for who they are. I want to change them and mold them into someone I feel is better. In the end the person usually resents me for my actions.
Serenity does not come easy for me. It is incredibly difficult for me to accept the world will act as it chooses and not allow that to impact my happiness. Especially when it involves the behavior of someone I love and care for.
Things I cannot change have taken up too much real estate in my mind. Learning to cope with anxiety and let go of these thoughts has been crucial. I’ve distanced myself from people and learned to love them from a far. I’ve come to terms with the fact I can only influence others to make changes if they are ready and willing.
I’ve wasted years worrying about how others choose to live their lives. Looking down upon their choices and placing my expectations upon them. I’ve been condescending when I should have been focusing more energy on how I live my life. Trusting that no matter what someone else does, I have enough confidence in the life I have built for myself that my world will not collapse.
Serenity is knowing I cannot change anyone. People are going to be who they are going to be and will live the way they way want to live . Not everyone will be willing to put in the hard work and effort its takes to be the best they can be. The sooner I accept that fact the sooner I can have my serenity back.