God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. We've all heard about The Serenity Prayer, but how many of us practice it? How many of us know how? Acceptance is the basis of happiness; it is the thing that brings us ease and keeps us from confrontation. When we learn to accept, not only others, but ourselves as we are, wonderful things begin to happen. We stop trying to hold on to people who are so desperately trying to wriggle free, and we begin holding onto ourselves more tightly, seeking only happiness for ourselves and those we profess to love. Accepting people and circumstances that are out of our control, ceasing trying to manipulate them, sets us all free. There is power in setting things and people loose, and in doing so with a heart filled with acceptance of the way things are and not the way we wish them to be.
Accept Yourself, First:
If you cannot accept who you are, who you really are, there is no way in the world you will ever be able to accept anyone else. But, who are you? Since your birth, who have you become? As much as we would like to believe that only good experiences change us and for the better, the fact of the matter is that awful experiences change us, too, and not always in a positive way.
We grow to be possessive, with abandonment issues, afraid that people will leave, only to find out that if someone wants to go, they will go. We grow anxious, afraid things won't go our way, as if our way is really a thing. We fear so much. We fear failure and many of us fear success. We fear change, not knowing what's on the other of it, believing it's our right to know. We grow hardened, affected by the lies and disappointments in our lives. We stop wishing to love or even be loved, believing we are totally okay alone, believing we are independent, as if anything on earth has ever been so. Each of us has been crushed. Each of us has been on high. Each of us are affected by each of us, but none of us want to talk about it.
Women, especially, are born and bred to be ashamed of every part of their being. Nothing we do is good enough for society. We are always too much of this and too little of that. Our hair, our skin, our attitude, our beauty, our sex––it is all up for debate in a public court of opinion. It is almost impossible to know who we are, much less accept the people we have become. How do we do this? How do we know ourselves apart from what others want and expect, and then, accept ourselves exactly as we are?
The Truth Shall Set You Free:
There is no better way to live than in the absolute truth, and yet, this is the place nobody wants to go. But, here's the thing you need to know: the truth is where you will find happiness. It is the place where your burdens are lifted and given back to the universe. It is the place where, even when uncomfortable, you will find healing. It is the only place where you can live without constant pain.
In order to accept yourself, you must accept all of your truths and be willing to admit them to yourself and to others. If you can't stand firm in who you are, you will never be anything. You will always be a facade, unreal, not even here. You won't exist until you exist in your truth. You're entire life will be built on the persona you created to shield you and others from yourself, and not upon the person God intended you to be. Have you ever felt like you're living someone else's life? Have you ever felt as if you deserve more than this? And have you thought that maybe, just maybe, you are living the life of your persona and not of your person?
Now, Pass It On:
When we begin to live in our truths and be honest about who we are, what we do, why we do it, and what we really want, it becomes easier to understand the actions or inactions of others. When we accept ourselves, accepting other people is easy. In that acceptance, we can see others through our own experiences, understanding why they do and say the things they do. Understanding is key. Knowing that not everything in life is about you is also key. People do as they wish. They go for what they want in that moment and very rarely are they thinking about you when they do it. This doesn't mean you will never be a factor, it just means that if someone wants to consider you, they will. If they don't, they won't, and none of that has anything to do with you.
This understanding is the root of your acceptance and that acceptance is the root of your happiness. It is the ego that makes us believe that life has anything to do with us. It is the ego that tells us we are self important and that the world should revolve around us, doing what we expect, how we expect it, when we expect it.
And the ego is always wrong.
You don't control much of anything outside your body and your mind. So, as you search for the power of acceptance, the root is inside of you. That's what you can control––how you think, act, and react. These are the things you can change. You will never be able to change others who have no willingness to change. You will never be able to lie and hide your way through life and still be a spiritual success. Change your mind, and you'll change your life. Accept yourself and see how easy it becomes to accept others, for we are human and we all terribly flawed, and maybe it's time you were okay with that.
New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.