“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.” ~Reinhold Niebuhr.
Several things have happened recently to remind me how important your attitude to your life is. It may take us a while before we learn how to deal with situations, relationships, jobs, that are not to our liking. We may agonize over our lot in life, complaining to whoever will listen about the unfairness, the stress, the intolerability of whatever is upsetting our status quo.
And perhaps we are right. Perhaps the situation is intolerable. It may be that you are indeed being taken advantage of, or mistreated, or even cheated on. But then the question becomes: Is it time to move on? Am I ready to end a relationship; look for a new job; buy a new car? Or do I just accept that: ‘It is what it is’ and stop wasting energy complaining about a situation I really have no intention of leaving. One of the biggest lessons of my life was when I truly accepted the concept that I do not have the power or the right to change another person’s behavior. My choices are to accept that behavior, or to move on.
But as the events unfolded in my own life, I began to reflect on the concept of accepting. And I realized that if you accept the situation, but with reservations, accepting it more because you are too scared to leave, or feel as if you don’t have the choice of leaving, then you end up bitter and resentful. For your own health, instead of just telling yourself, it is what it is, in a passive and angry way, why don’t you embrace it?
Is the situation really that bad, or are there actually things to cherish, aspects that bring you joy and make you smile? If necessary, make a list. Remind yourself what it was that drew you to the person, the job, the city, in the first place. It is very rare that something is completely and utterly without merit. Notice the positive things in your environment and appreciate them anew. It may even be that what is making you unhappy is not that other, that which is outside you. It may be that you are the one creating your own misery.
And instead of noting, enumerating, repeating the negatives to whoever will pay attention to you, start noticing the positives. Look at your life as a whole. What do you really have to grumble about? Can you believe that former President Jimmy Carter has been busy building latrines in Africa to help stop the spread of disease? When last was a latrine your only choice? And yet for some, a latrine is a precious gift of life.
So today I hope that you can see that it is what it is, and that is a beautiful thing. Most of us have more than enough for our basic needs to be met. In addition to that we have friends and family that have our backs when we need them. We have loved ones who are willing to listen to us when we need to vent. We are surrounded by a beautiful world, with much to be grateful for. Embrace your life, live to your fullest! This is your life, and it is up to you to let go of the things that are preventing you from making the most of it.
Have a great Friday, family, and a wonderful weekend. For those who are heading to Atlanta for another CC family reunion – see you there!