Happy Tuesday, I hope you’re having a glorious day. ♥
You are probably familiar with the Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
This prayer, written in the early 1930s by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, contains deep wisdom.
Don’t believe in God? No problem. Just take out “God grant me” and replace with “I embody” and it becomes a powerful affirmation.
It’s the sentiment that’s important here.
It’s pointless to waste energy struggling against things that are out of your control, but it’s equally pointless to sit around and do nothing about things you can change.
Unfortunately – this is why it’s a prayer – this advice can be easier said than done.
If you struggle to accept the things that you cannot control, here are some tips:
1. Determine What Is in Your Control
The first step to accepting things you can’t control is to understand what you can control and what you can’t. Things you can control include:
- Your own behavior
- Your own actions
- Your own responses to the events around you
Things you can’t control include:
- The natural world (including the weather)
- The built world
- Other people
Do you see a pattern here? You are in charge of your own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions, but you can’t control external forces.
2. Accept What You Can’t Control
Identifying what is and isn’t in your control is one thing, but it can still be a struggle to accept that truth. These two simple tools can help:
Meditation helps you let go of distracting thoughts and be in the present moment. This practice helps you release the need to control things that you can’t control, and helps you better regulate your own thoughts and emotions.
Meditation can help calm negative thinking and release stress with just a few days of regular practice.
To get started, here’s a guided meditation recording for you. It’s focused on anxiety release and it’s my gift to you. Give it a listen and see how you feel after.
If meditation isn’t your style, logic may be the answer. When we are emotionally invested in something, it’s hard to step back and recognize what we can and can’t control.
In these times, do your best to step back and try to look at the situation objectively, as though it was happening to someone else. What are the facts of the matter? Logic will help you quickly see what is inside your control, and what is outside of it.
3. Move Forward Productively
Once you accept what you can’t control, you can stop worrying and start using that same energy to plan, problem solve, communicate with others, and manage your own emotional state.
For example, you can’t control the weather on your wedding day.
However, you can look up historical weather patterns at your location before you pick your date. You can create contingency plans for every kind of weather. You can enlist others’ help by clearly and courteously communicating your bad weather plan. And, finally, you can imagine yourself smiling and feeling ecstatic through every possible combination of weather because it’s your day, and you deserve to enjoy it.
I hope these tips and the meditation recording help you. I’d love to know what YOU found most useful.