Recently, I witnessed someone close to me handle a situation that was full of disappointment with maturity and grace. Her first reaction to the disappointment was one of emotional sadness, frustration, anger, and disbelief. She realized she had lost an opportunity that she was looking forward to. She was going to have a life experience that she worked hard to gain and one that was going to be incredibly exciting and pleasurable. And then out of no where, everything changed, and the opportunity that she was hoping to experience, vastly changed and felt almost taken away.
Yet, I watched her transform from a person in a state of anger, disappointment, and sadness to a state of acceptance, flexibility, and maturity. She moved through the stages and states so quickly. She found a new determination. One of acceptance for what the situation was and a commitment to herself to find away to make it work and to make the situation the best it could be. I was truly amazed at her maturity and grace.
The situation and process of change that I have witnessed in this person, has made me contemplate how much we can struggle and get stuck in the things and life circumstances that we cannot change. I often wonder how much energy, worry, and emotion we expel about the things we have no power to change, things we want to fight against, things we do not want to accept. I have a friend who often says, "It is what it is." Quite honestly, sometimes when she says it, I really don't want to hear it. She doesn't say it to be harsh or non supportive. She says it, because it is the truth and she accepts the information and situation as valid and unchangeable.
As we experience losses, disappointments, and painful challenges in life, we often have difficulty accepting the truth and accepting what has happened. Often we forget to focus on the things we can change, instead of the things we cannot. The Serenity Prayer is a prayer that 12 step programs use and part of the prayer talks about this difficulty:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
I wonder what would happen if we spent more of our energy and emotions on the things that we can change, things we truly can have an impact and influence upon, and stopped focusing on trying to change the things we cannot, no matter how hard we try...and accept, that sometimes, it is what it is. I wonder how much more time you would have in your life for the good things the things that are right in front of you waiting to be enjoyed. It may sound easier than it is, it calls for maturity, grace, courage, and the willingness to be open for change.
Are you up for the challenge?