There’s this thing called The Serenity Prayer which goes something like this: 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 thinking here was that once you deeply accept that only you have the power to move forward in your life, then you can take the action to do it. Now, there are also things that you cannot change, and the work there is to accept that you can’t manage that situation or this person or that thing.
This begs the question, “What is it in your own life that you are resigned to accepting but, in truth, have the power and right to change?” You may find the answers astonishing.
2. LIVE YOUR TRUTH
You’d be surprised how many lies you tell yourself and how many times you suffered because of them. The lies you tell yourself feed into the lies you tell other people and will leave you isolated when all you ever craved was connection. Can you believe that? your cure for loneliness is isolation.
This will change when you start to speak your own truth and give the people around you the opportunity to truly know who you are and what you stand for. We live in fear of what other people will think or say about us, but do you really want those kinds of people in your life today?
Tell your truth and embrace who you are. Let the naysayers know that if it’s going to make a difference as to whether they love you or not, then it should start making a difference now.
3. REMAIN GRATEFUL
Practice gratitude also. Recognize that, in today’s world, it is easy to become entitled, walking around with a sense of indignation, losing sense of the things that really matter, and falling away from gratitude.
Everything in your life is worth exploring, whether it’s the fact that you can walk and run, or knowing that if it ever gets to be too much, the world is designed to accommodate you and help you not feel abandoned or alone.
4. HAVE FAITH IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
We come into the world, each of us, with our own baggage (sometimes it’s an abandonment issue; sometimes it’s simple trust issues, etcetera). We acquire these as children, but we discover that these lessons no longer serve us in adulthood, and we become forced to re-parent or reeducate ourselves.
Part of this means learning how to trust our friends and partners and spouses. These relationships are important and you need to think of them as a carefully concocted stew of love, patience, and understanding. When we distrust the people closest to us, what we are actually doing is adding negative ingredients to the pot — jealousy, possessiveness, suspicion . . . of course, they are going to react in a negative fashion.
We are often shocked when conflict arises, but it is conflict that could have been avoided if we’d made a conscious decision to come from a place of love, rather than one of antagonism and unrest.
People are sometimes going to let you down. This is a fact of life. It is our responsibility to not create an arena for them to do so.
5. BE OF SERVICE
Don’t look for a payoff for simply being of service. It isn’t an act of kindness if you expect something for it. Once you remove the payoff from the equation, you will find yourself catapulted to the next level of true selflessness, understanding that the reward for loving is love; the reward for being of service is being of service.
The self-esteem that comes from reaching out and helping other people is invaluable. It gets you out of your own head and helps you not feel overwhelmed by problems or other concerns. It helps you feel connected.
6. LAUGH AT YOURSELF
Learning how to laugh at yourself can help build stronger relationships.
Your family and friends should not be made to feel as though they need to walk on eggshells around you; it’s up to you to create a safe, non-judgmental space for those around you. It is only in this space that you can experience the joy of authentic laughter.
7. LIVE IN THE MOMENT
Your past is inescapable, your future is unavoidable, but your present is forever unrestrained.
We sometimes spend more time obsessing over things that have happened and dreading some unforeseen future that we forget the simple truth that, right now, in this moment, we are okay. No matter what is happening, even now — reading this — you are okay. Take a breath. Enjoy this one, perfect moment, because it is yours.
You have plans and obligations, sure, but we’re not there yet. Right now, it’s just us, living in this wonderful moment, and reveling in the fact that, in and of ourselves, we are complete, we are worthy of connection, and we are enough.
When things get hectic, remind yourself of this and get centered. Only in the moment are we ever our perfect selves.
8. PRACTICE RESTRAINT OF PEN AND TONGUE
Adopt a new way of relating to other people. Ask yourself, “Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said now?” And finally, “Does this need to be said by me?”
The three simple questions, in one fell stroke, will eliminated so much pain and drama in your life that it will leave a huge space to be filled with a new influx of love and understanding. Not only will people suddenly want to be around you , but the problems that you think can only be managed by yourself seem to work themselves out on their own.
9. LEARN TO FORGIVE
This one’s a hard pill to swallow. I believe that you have to talk about (and really process) wrongs that have been done to you before you can get to a place where forgiveness is possible. However, I also believe that it gets easier every time you do it, and that the emotional work involved is worth the effort it takes to get there. Some transgressions are unforgivable, true, but most aren’t. Keep in mind, I am not telling you to run out and forgive everyone.
I am telling you to LEARN to forgive, because the spiritual growth comes from the journey toward forgiveness.
10. REMAIN TEACHABLE
Don’t be a huge naysayer when it comes to new concepts and ideas. The simple truth is that we’re so busy seeing through everything that we can’t see anything.. Our capacity for growth is stunted by this inability to embrace new ideas. This doesn’t have to be you.
Allow yourself to have an open mind. Accept that even the worst-dressed person at the party may have something interesting to say to you and put your hand out to say hello. Rediscover your sense of wonder. No matter how old you are, the world still has a lot to show you.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having very human experiences. Avail yourself to each and every one.
11. EVERYTHING YOU CAME HERE LOOKING FOR, YOU CAME HERE LOOKING WITH
I cannot tell you how much time and energy I wasted searching for some sort of outside “thing” to fix me. Everywhere I went, the answer was always the same: we’re perfect. In and of ourselves, we are whole and complete. Inner Peace comes from accepting this as your truth.
Granted, there are things about ourselves that we can change. There are outside things that we can acquire to enrich the quality of our lives, but none of those things are the destination of any spiritual journey. Every spiritual journey is designed to help you find yourself.
It is only when you’ve found, accepted, and learned to love yourself that you are capable of connecting with anything else; whether it’s other people, your family, or a God of your own understanding. Believe it.
12. BE COURAGEOUS IN LIFE
Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without it, you cannot practice any of the others consistently.
It takes courage to love. It takes courage to be honest and to speak your own truth. It takes courage to forgive. It takes courage to reach out and help other people.
I had to learn very early on how to not let fear dictate my behavior. I had to learn how to not let fear inform my decisions. You can do this, too. I promise you. It’s in you. If you’re reading this, then you’re ready to take a few chances and truly grow.
If worse comes to worst, keep this in mind: A turtle cannot walk — it cannot move forward — unless it sticks its neck out.