God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. – American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
That version’s a bit fancied-up from the one we usually hear, but I think it’s the original. Regardless of your beliefs about a higher power, it’s just good common sense to figure out what you can and can’t change, change what you can, and accept what you can’t. But I thought I’d clear up something about the acceptance piece as I’ve found myself talking about it more than usual lately:
The following are three different creatures: Acceptance, Resignation, Embracement.
Resignation sounds like this: “I’m so unhappy. I can’t change this thing and I wish I could. I will sit with it though I don’t want to, and I will always wish it were different.” Acceptance is like this: “Well, this is reality. I can’t change it, so I choose to exist with it peacefully.” And here’s Embracement: “This is how it is and since I cannot change it I welcome it in with an open mind and heart and I will find a way for it to add to my life and help me grow.” We have a choice of resignation, acceptance, or embracement about things that we can’t change. When we choose embracement we are choosing to actively work on happiness. It is not always easy.
It is always worth it.