by Matt Mattson
Many people know 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.
This prayer has been said millions of times by millions of people. Many know it as a common saying used by folks in recovery from addiction. Others just find it to be a helpful daily mediation.
You know what you cannot change? Other people.
You know what you can change? You.
As you seek deep human connection with others. As you pursue deep-spirited friendships, meaningful relationships, and powerful interpersonal encounters, know that the only thing within your control is you.
If someone rebuffs your kind-hearted outreach... You can't control whatever hurt or loss or fear that person likely has that fueled their response. You can only control whether you let their rejection hurt you and keep you from being kind-hearted with others.
If someone fails to recognize your genuine effort to apologize, care, or love... You can't control the emotions they're feeling or the unresolved anger they're harboring or the wall they've built around their heart. You can only control whether your heart hardens or softens. That's what's in your control. You can fight back or love back. That's your choice.
If someone ridicules and rejects your attempt to engage in substantial dialogue about an issue that matters to you... You can't control their entrenchments. You can't control their self-preservation. You can't control their fear of change or growth. You can only control your willingness to listen, learn, and grow. Your next move can be to exclude or include. That's your choice.
May you be granted the serenity to accept those things you can not change. May you have the courage to change the things you can. And may you be wise in your discernment of the difference.