Many people are unaware that we are a tri-part being. This means we have a body, a soul (which is our mind, will and emotions) and a spirit. Although these parts are separate and distinct we are one whole being. It’s like an egg with its shell, whites and yoke. It goes without saying that we are infinitely much more complex than an egg, but the analogy in demonstrative.
Our soul is where the battle rages. It is the battle for sanity, for recognition, acceptance, to feel good about ourselves and to feel loved. That is a battle that is lost for many. We are stronger than we will ever know. However, if you don’t know and accept your power, you will never feel powerful. Knowledge is power. It is when we are kept ignorant of facts and concepts that we lose the battle. We become a slave to our emotions and it seems that our reasoning and will no longer have a say. We feel trapped, caged and powerless. This is the saddest of all human conditions.
Most everyone carries a scar of emotional pain. When we are harmed by another, a scar is wrenched in our emotions, in our soul. Those emotions can sometimes be so overpowering that we cannot break loose and break free from the pain and it seems to permeate us. We become encased by it and often feel that we can’t do anything but try and stop the pain. Suicide, addictions and other harmful behavior become a way of life for many. It is a tragedy that plays out in the lives of many people each day.
Where knowledge is, there is power. It can bring freedom to the soul from certain attacks against it or even the enslavement of powerful emotions that we hold deep inside. Powerful emotions are what they are and sometimes we must just process the pain for a while in order to let the intensity subside. However, there must come a time when we can interject our mind and will to become an overcomer. Prolonged periods of intense emotional pain are deadly.
The serenity prayer is a powerful tool in dealing with emotional pain because it helps us to remember the key to dealing with ourselves, others and circumstances in our lives that we feel powerless over.
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.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
There are many things we cannot change. The list is so long it would take from now until forever to list them all. That is the kind of news not everyone likes to hear. We would love to change family members, bosses, co-workers, systems and many other things that I will tell you right now that you can’t do anything about. It is our job as the owner of our body, soul and spirit to become knowledgeable. To put our mind to use in knowing what we can change and what we cannot change.
First of all in evaluating what we can change… it is important to note that we can try to influence people but we cannot change them. Influence is different from control. Many people try to control other people. Some are not even aware that this is what they are trying to do. It is a horrible feeling to know that someone is trying to control you. We will rebel eventually towards that person. We may even initially rebel against them and stay away from them completely which is, by the way, an example of what we CAN change.
That is the first step, to realize that there are circumstances and people that we cannot change. What we can change is whether or not we have contact or interaction with that person or continue to expose ourselves to that circumstance. The best choice is often to make the choice to remove yourself from that person’s presence or that circumstance and never return. People who are controlling like that are interested in control; they are not interested in you so much. So, it doesn’t really matter if they say they love you, what they love is that they can control you and both of you have misinterpreted that for love. A controlling person is only interested in whether they can control you. Let that person fly away and you walk the other direction. A controlling person will steal your soul and therefore your power. It is such an ugly way to be towards others. The only real control we have in our lives is over ourselves. What you do with yourself is that most important thing to understand and remember. That is where the ‘wisdom to know the difference’ becomes so profound.
So, we can’t control other people and what we can control is our choices and actions. That is good news. It means that you can disconnect yourself from the people that are hurting you, no matter how painful that is. It is either leave or continue to suffer through the pain. If you chose to stay, know that is a choice you are making. They are not making you stay, you CHOSE to stay. If you can’t accept that you have choices and the power over those choices then you remain powerless. If you want to become powerful take ownership of your choices. This is inevitably the only thing you can own and control.
If there are people or situations in your life that you feel powerless over, go get a piece of paper and a pen. Write down each of those things. Then write down how those things make you feel. Decide if you can change them or not. Be really honest here because this could be your moment of freedom. You can rip this up and throw it away after you are done, no one has to see this; it is for you.
Now let’s evaluate:
Can you change it?
Do you need to accept that you cannot change it?
What can you do for YOU to make a change within yourself?
Are you hurting others with your choices? If you wouldn’t want something to be done to you don’t do that to other people. Otherwise you throw yourself into this equation and your name may be on someone else’s list. Change is possible only if you believe you have the power to change. Forgive yourself because before this you weren’t aware. Ask other’s for forgiveness, if they can’t give it now that’s ok and they will have to work that out on their own.
Write down the serenity prayer and read it every day until it gets into your mind and you can come to own what already belongs to you.
The second part of the prayer is up to you to take. I know some people are Christian or religious and some are not. Once again that is a choice we all make. I am not telling you to make a choice so you can take it or not. I find that it helps me. This prayer has helped me through thick and thin. I focus on the first part because it is the first step in freedom. I believe the second part is a second step for many.
Now, make the choice to stop hurting others and yourself. Make the decision to get help if you need it. Get out the phone book and make one call. Talk to someone about it. Take ownership of what you can change and give the problem back to those who deserve to own that for themselves. If you can make one choice, one change today it can change the rest of your life.