The Serenity Prayer
November 13, 2021
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage and strength to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
This is the Serenity Prayer, written by American Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, in the year 1933.
It took me most of my adult life to figure out the truth in this prayer.
The strength or courage the writer alludes to is not to change someone or something on the outside; it is actually to change yourself.
You cannot control how the world operates, but you certainly can control how you operate in terms of your own thoughts, actions, and behaviors. Your wisdom is in realizing that you really only control yourself, and that is where you need your strength- to help you deal with your fears, your perceived inadequacies, your bad habits, your biases, and your vices.
It’s one thing to know this truth and another thing to practice it daily. Unfortunately, sometimes I still suffer from the illusion that I can change the way my kids think, my colleagues operate, or how the world should perceive me. Whenever I fall into this trap thinking that I can control something outside, it always leads to a sense of imbalance. As a result, I am upset or anxious and not at peace.
Experience has taught me that my peace is in accepting that I can’t change others and recognizing that I am better off managing myself and my mindset. This is essence of the Serenity prayer.