If you are anything like me, one of my primary goals in life is serenity, or as some like to put it, peace of mind. This is because I view such a mental state as key to lasting happiness. Of course, that can mean many things to different people, but to me, it comes down to maybe two words that are interconnected: control and acceptance.
It seems that we humans are control freaks, wanting to control everything so that everything will turn out the way we want it to. This includes almost everything we come into contact with – people, places, and things. Our hubris, ego, and arrogance tell us that we can control and even “fix” things that are not as we wish they were, including those same above people, places, and things. It takes years of maturing to realize that, in reality, we are not in control of very much, and we usually cannot fix everything to our exact liking. After many failures and pain, some of us realize that we are not in control, and we need to let go and let things evolve as they will. Quit fighting for control – realizing it is useless 99% of the time. This perspective is summed up in the Serenity Prayer:
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
Once we begin to give up the fight for control, then acceptance becomes easier. We learn to accept ourselves, others, and circumstances as they are. Things may not be just as we wish, but since we are no longer trying to control them, we learn to look for the good and accept things as they are.
If, however, there are things outside of our personal boundaries such that we cannot accept them, we must move on. Don’t fight for control or to fix them. I like to say, “Next!” Learning and practicing the Serenity Prayer, recognizing the importance of letting go of your desire to control, and acceptance, in general, should provide you with a soothing and rewarding peace of mind, having achieved a serene state of being.