No, I’m not referring to that infamous Seinfeld episode from years ago! I am referring to a basic philosophy that is the cornerstone of Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA)~ the Serenity Prayer. Most people have heard some version of it. My version goes like this:
[Insert your “Higher Power”], grant me the courage and strength to change the things I can, Acceptance for the things I can’t, and Wisdom to know the difference.
Adopting this mindset is like discovering the Instruction manual for leading a healthy, balanced life. It is empowering~ being able to identify what exactly is in YOUR control and called into action to effect change in your life. It also allows you to release the death grip you may have while trying to control all the variables in life that are simply uncontrollable. I encourage you to apply this strategy with whatever issue you may currently be struggling with in your life.
For example, you might be experiencing conflict with a difficult coworker. You can’t control that your coworker may not be easy to work with, or that he is usually late or rarely completes his assignments on time. But you CAN control how you respond to him, what you say and how you say it.
So let’s plug your particular situation into our Serenity formula. Write down two columns, one labeled “What’s in my control” and the other labeled “What’s not”. See that first column? That’s where your energy and focus should be directed . That’s the empowering part. That’s the part where you get to identify your choices, be assertive, problem solve and create a game plan. That next column? That’s the plethora of stuff that you have absolutely no way to control, fix or change. Letting go of that death grip is the liberating part.
You can apply this philosophy to every aspect of your life. It is that simple, yet will yield some pretty profound results!
By Dr. Jo Wolthusen