Courage to Change the Things We Can: Attitude and Reactions

I have found the Serenity Prayer, as interpreted below, to be of immense help in my continuing search to live a life of positivity and emotional balance. The Serenity Prayer, of course, reads:

God, grant me the serenity to:
Accept the things I cannot  change,
Courage to change the things I can, and
The wisdom to know the difference.

So, the following interpretation of these words, in effect, presents a practical guide to effective application of the Serenity Prayer to the realities of everyday life:

God, grant me the serenity to:
Accept the things I cannot change—Other people and many events in my life,
Courage th change the things I can—Me and how I react to other people and many events in my life, and
The wisdom to know the difference.

In most situations, the only person I can change is me {or I, for  grammar purists), it being a futile, wasteful use of energy to focus on changing others. I have found that regardless of the situation I am facing, I can always, with God’s help, and the help of trusted others, focus my energies on seeking a positive reaction to it.

Most situations we humans face in life deal with our relationships with others and do not, often, involve life and death situations. However, dire circumstances and tragedies do occur and my experience, so far, is that the Serenity Prayer does not fail to provide the framework for a spiritually positive reaction. I have been profoundly affected by the words of Victor Frankl, a World War II, Nazi concentration camp survivor, who, facing daily deprivations and impending doom, was able to adopt an emotional reaction, or attitude, that enabled him to remain sane and hopeful:

“We who lived, in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (Man’s Search for Meaning))

As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams, 06/14/2018.

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