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.

What is acceptance? How do we accept things in our life that we have no control over?  Can we live with happiness and peace of mind even when we can’t change so many things we so badly wish we could

Sometimes the challenges in our life bring us down, they occupy a lot of our head space and take away the joy in our life.  Sometimes we feel burdened with overwhelming feelings, with sadness, hopelessness, fear and anger.  We don’t know how to manage them and even worse we feel guilty and we judge ourselves for not coping better.  Sometimes our challenges, keep us away from deep connection with others and we feel so lonely.  

Acceptance doesn’t mean our circumstances are ok and that we don’t want them to change.  Acceptance doesn’t mean that people are off the hook for hurtful things they have done to us.  Acceptance doesn’t mean we have no challenging feelings to process.  

Acceptance frees a person to live a lighter, happier life.  It places trust in G-d that we are in the exact place we are supposed to be, with the exact set of circumstances we are meant to be in and our job is to live a good life filled with growth, gratitude and compassion.  

Acceptance is saying, “G-d you know what you are doing, so I am going to leave this in your hands. I am going to trust that You can help and support me through this and I am going to continue to act and believe that You will send me what I want and need at the right time for me.  This test You have given me is hard and painful. I don’t really understand it and sometimes I really am confused, angry, sad and scared. Then I remind myself that You are up there watching over me and I feel calmer and more hopeful that You just want me to be my best self and designed this life perfectly to help me get there. I will continue to learn and grow and invest my efforts into areas that I have control and change the things I can.” 

We can change things that are in our control and even those take courage and are not always easy.

I can find happiness and fulfillment and meaning in my life. 

I can have fun and laughter in my life.  

I can cultivate confidence and belief in myself.  

I can live each day growing and evolving.  

I can be curious and compassionate and learn more about myself and others each day. 

I can reach and receive help and support from others.

I can show support and care  to others.  

I can notice thoughts and parts that are hurting me and reframe them.  

I can communicate in ways that are effective and kind to others.  

I can set up boundaries that help keep me safe.  

I can validate and soothe all the hard feelings, 

the hurt of being misunderstood or judged by others,

the anger and resentment to all the people who hurt us, who didnt help us when we needed it most, 

 the despair of feeling different or not good enough,

 the confusion of feeling lost and not knowing what to do,

 and the hopelessness and fear that things will never change. 

We are human and G-d intended for them to help guide us along on our way.  Our feelings makes sense.  

There are so many things that are in my control and so many ways to be empowered.  

Creating a me that I am proud of.  

A me that though I may struggle sometimes, I have compassion for my struggle and also know there is much goodness and choice I have in my life.   

A lighter freer me!! 

Maybe even seeing the world with a new set of eyes – eyes that have compassion for the my struggle and the realization that everyone in this world is going through a struggle in some form. Struggles that are easy to see but also struggles that are much more hidden. Struggles that feel never ending and struggles that are ultimately overcome.  

Finding the preciousness in life even with the pain.  Knowing a day may come when you will see the silver lining in this challenge or the way it helped you grow into an even stronger more resilient and compassionate person, but you may not see it now.

I wish for everyone reading this that you are able to incorporate the Serenity Prayer into your daily life and find your way to a life filled with courage, calm, compassion, clarity and connectedness. 

I will be rooting for you.  

Ilana Brown 

Registered Psychotherapist (ON) Relationship Coach