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.
The following is an approximation of a conversation I had in the car with my daughter:
Marisol: I hope I don't lose my front teeth for a while. I don't want to lose them.
(she just lost her bottom two teeth)
Me: You don't want to lose them?
Marisol: No, I don't know how I'll eat without them.
Me: Yeah, it's something everyone has to go through though. It's part of life.
This is a truth that is unavoidable. Let's call it a biological truth. Other biological inescapabilities: growing, puberty, aging, death. (However, Gerry insists that he's not going to grow anymore! He likes how he is right now.)
Philosophical truths might include ideas such as, "There will be ups and downs in our lifetime" or "Our attitude has a significant impact on how we experience life."
These are truths that are best accepted, and embraced, fighting them doesn't help us.
But what about justifications like the following,
"I have no choice in this matter, that's just how life is these days." or "My relationship with my kid will be better after they grow out of this phase - this is normal."
Often we use these kinds of justifications to make us feel better about circumstances that we feel guilty about or powerless over. But it is well worth the effort to examine all statements like this to see if we really "have to" accept the way things are or if there are choices we can make to feel at peace with our life circumstances.
Another guidepost we can use for evaluating our current life-satisfaction level is by noticing our triggers. When we are with our friends or at the park which rants or "bitch sessions" do we want to jump in on? The ones that are about our personal lives and relationships? If we have a lot of complaints about OUR LIFE that is a clear sign - we need to make some changes. But if you are getting riled up about other issues - things that you want to change in the world, things you think should be different and could be BETTER, that's another thing altogether. When we are (mostly) at peace with our own lives then we can turn our energy and passion outwards to making the world a better place.
Here's to recognizing the things we are best off accepting, the things we need to change in our own lives, and the positive difference we can make in the world.