One of the most quoted lines from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, is from one of the stories in the back of the book. The author says: “Acceptance is the answer to all of my difficulties.”
And although I believe that is true to a point, I believe in the Serenity Prayer, which says there is a time for acceptance and a time for change. I can change the way I react to things beyond my control, I can change my behaviors that are not life enriching, I can change my attitudes, in other words, I can change my thinking, my words, and my actions.
Acceptance is a powerful tool but not unless combined with the courage to change and the wisdom to know when to do what. If we look at the Serenity Prayer, we see that it is acceptance (serenity), courage (change), and wisdom that are all necessary, because without all three qualities any one would not help in challenging times.
We need to know that when we try to change something that cannot be changed we may find ourselves in even more pain and suffering. Similarly, just accepting (even with serenity) bad situations or treatment can leave us in a big mess. And, consequently, the wisdom to discern the difference between serenity and courage is of no use without action.
Quote of the Week
“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.”
The Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr