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…Give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.
We should always try to improve and change the things that we do not like about our lives. But at the same time, it’s important to recognize the things that we cannot change. This will help us focus our efforts correctly and avoid spending too much time on the things that are not going to budge no matter how hard we try.
1. If things cannot be changed, learn to accept them
Acceptance is often a process rather than just a single step. But it involves making the choice to accept something. When we do so, we can free ourselves from the worries and concerns associated with the thing we cannot change and focus on all the other things that we can actually change.
For example, if we accept that we cannot change our partner, we are free to decide whether to stay in the relationship with our eyes open or to leave it and find someone who is different. But we will not waste time worrying about what we are doing wrong and why our partner won’t change their ways.
2. There is no point of punishing and cursing ourselves for things which we cannot change
There is a lot of guilt, shame, and worry associated with not being able to change. Society often forces us to feel responsible for everything going on around us, like the behavior of our partner or some health issues or many other things, so when we allow ourselves to accept that they are beyond our control, we can stop punishing ourselves for them.
It’s a freeing experience, as we can stop feeling so guilty and concerned over things beyond our control and let go of the negative emotions that we have been feeling.
3. Finding out a lesson that can be applied later is the best thing we can do
Just because we accept some things as inevitable doesn’t mean they cannot teach us anything. Rather, they can help us develop guidelines for how to act in the future and take away lessons that will help us a lot in other situations. Consider what this situation has taught you and how you might benefit from this lesson in the future.
For example, if you agreed to a bad working environment and then had to deal with it for months, it can remind you to be careful in the future and pay attention to the fine print in every contract and every agreement or show you that you need specific conditions to be productive. When you look upon everything that cannot be changed with a constructive lens, it’s a lot easier to find acceptance.
4. Don’t expect too much, stop expecting things from others
If we keep finding ourselves in situations that cause frustration, it might be time to reevaluate how much we expect from others. Expectations that are too high might bring a lot of frustration and concern, so letting go of these expectations might make our lives easier.
If we expect that others will know what we want and act accordingly, for instance, we might be setting ourselves up for failure. Let go of unrealistic expectations to free yourself from this source of frustration; instead take things as they come and people as they are.
5. Be relentless with the things that you can change
You might not be able to change the world or other people or some aspects of yourself. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up. Focus your efforts on the things you can change – improve yourself and your life, find new solutions to the problems that are within your purview. This will help you feel empowered and in control over your own life.
There are things we cannot change, and that’s OK. However, identifying those we can change through effort and focusing our energy on them can help us gain more control over our lives. Focus on the things that truly matter and that are within your power to change. Accepting the rest is a matter of practice.