Acceptance is the way to peace of mind. . .

Those of us in Alcoholics Anonymous know, “acceptance is the answer to all our problems.” Many of us would agree that it’s easier said than done, but I am living proof that it can be done if you are willing, persistent, and make a habit of practicing acceptance.

Quite likely we have hundreds of opportunities every day where the practice of acceptance comes in handy. Our experiences steer us, quite intentionally I think, into situations of potential conflict, but we never, ever have to engage in a conflict. We can step away. We can allow the other person to have whatever his or her opinion is.  We can learn to enjoy the freedom of not needing to be right.  What a joy that discovery is!

I lived in perpetual conflict for many years.  In my family of origin it was the natural state of affairs.  My parents engaged in it almost daily.  My father and I picked up where my parents left off.  And I felt like I had to be right.  I couldn’t give in.  It was constant, dreaded and addictive, all at the same time.  I carried my propensity to argue into my other relationships too.  And it never occurred to me that insecurity was what initiated it in me, my dad and every one else too.  How glad I am those days are over for me.

Peaceful, secure people can discuss their differences reasonably.  They can even embrace the differences that exist between themselves and others. They can be grateful for the opportunities to interact with people who hold beliefs far different from their own.   And I am happy to say that with  practice, I am becoming that person.  Effort is the tool.  Daily effort.  Sometimes hourly effort.

Having the Serenity Prayer as a tool to rely on every time I am about to “go where I need not go,” is a remarkable gift.  Grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference. There is no problem that can’t be either alleviated or lessened by the application of this prayer.

Even though it’s a prayer that is said often in the multitude of 12 step meetings throughout the world, it’s universal in appeal too.  Perhaps it’s bold of me to suggest this but if more people used it on a more frequent basis, there would be fewer conflicts in families, among friends, in neighborhoods, communities, and between countries even.  No problem is too big or too small to be lessened by the application of the “serenity prayer.”  Try it for a day.  Just one day.  Every time a situation arises that you want to control, say and “apply,” the Serenity Prayer.  Feel the inner turmoil lessen.  It will astound you.  Peace will come.




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