“God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other.”
Authored in the 1930s by Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian, this prayer shows the importance of realizing that some things in life cannot be changed, and accepting them as they are. In life, we all face difficult situations that we cannot possibly change. These could be bad decisions, broken relationships, terrible childhoods or terminal illnesses. For most of us, the first reaction is denial, trying to convince ourselves that these things are not really happening to us. That we will wake up and find that it was all a bad dream. However, they have already happened. Trying to convince ourselves otherwise only makes it harder for us to deal with these situations.
Here are three reasons why you must learn to accept the world as it is, not as it should be.
Peace of mind
When we face difficult situations, we cannot understand why it is happening to us. We might put all the blame on ourselves. We think that if we had done things differently, we would not be experiencing this. If you didn’t scold your girlfriend, maybe she wouldn’t have left you. This could be true, or it could be as a result of something out of your control. However, blaming and admonishing yourself does not make the situation any better. It only makes you angry at yourself, and if unchecked, this can lead to depression. Once you accept things as they are, you become more calm. You are able to look at things more objectively and probably learn a few lessons from whatever you are facing.
Ability to take action
Most people are unable to deal with problems they are facing because of their failure to accept their situations. There is the alcoholic who wants to quit drinking but will not seek help because he can’t accept that he has a drinking problem. When Steve Jobs first learnt he had cancer, he tried to convince himself that he was well, until it was too late. Once our alcoholic above accepts that he has a drinking problem, then it would be easier for him to seek help. Accepting the situation we are in gives us the courage to take action to remedy the situation.
Learning to accept things as they are also helps us to avoid disappointments in life. It helps you make better choices in life. You learn what you and people around you are capable of and can therefore make choices accordingly. For instance, a parent might see signs that their teenage child is into drugs, but they try to convince themselves that there’s no way their beloved child can be involved in drugs. The same parent is then caught up in anger and disappointment when their child is caught with drugs. Had they accepted the possibility of their child doing drugs, they could have done something to turn things around and avoid the disappointment of seeing their child go to jail.