There is a wonderful prayer called the “serenity prayer” that has been quoted around the world since 1934, when it was written by an American theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr. It’s known as the serenity prayer. It was published in a small pamphlet then, during World War II, the military distributed millions of copies to service personnel.
The Serenity Prayer is a very powerful way of helping yourself move beyond trying to control others and events, and into what is loving to yourself and others
The first part of the serenity prayer is so profound:
God, grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Take a moment to really ponder this prayer. There are very powerful words, starting with “God.” It starts with God because we cannot achieve any of this by ourselves, without the help of our Higher Power.
“Serenity” is a powerful word, as we all want “serenity”, and this prayer tells us exactly how to have it – by letting go of trying to control things over which we have no control.
Another powerful word is “accept.” It is by accepting what we cannot change and changing the things we can that we achieve serenity.
A fourth very powerful word is “courage.” It takes courage to change what we can, which is primarily ourselves – our false beliefs, unloving thought and behavior. It takes courage to shift our intent from protecting/controlling to learning/loving.
The final very powerful word is “wisdom.” It is the wisdom that comes through us from God that allows us to discern the difference between what we can change and what we can’t.
Imagine how your life would be if you truly stopped trying to control others and events, and instead focused all the energy that goes into trying to control what you can’t control, and direct it toward controlling what you can. Have you ever put as much energy into making your intent conscious as you have put into trying to control others?
Think about all the time you’ve spent being angry, frustrated, annoyed, irritated, withdrawn, resistant, compliant, parental or defensive. What if you spent a fraction of that time focusing instead on what is loving to yourself and others? Why continue to spend any time and energy with these controlling behaviors that only end up making you feel badly?
Take a moment right now to say The Serenity Prayer to yourself. Notice how good it feels inside. Notice how sincerely saying this prayer brings a sense of serenity.