Accepting the Things I Cannot Change


“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.” Reinhold Niebuhr turned out to have a huge influence on my life. It never really hit me, the meaning of those words, when I was younger. Now that I am confronting so many life changes, decisions, and other “adulting” things on a daily basis, I use these words as my life’s mantra. Growing up I remember this as a prayer we memorized and had to say before every sports game in grade school. I never really took time to think, how can I apply these words? OR how can I be mindful of what I am saying? Thinking about them years later, I understand that the universe speaks, but it is up to us to take the time to listen and trust in it. The biggest step to open yourself up to the universe is making inner peace with ourselves. Without the constant ego we carry clouding our minds, it’s possible to see a purpose to what may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

So how can you make this your mantra and be mindful of the universe?

Serenity Create inner peace with yourself. Stay positive. I love putting a positive affirmation as the title of an alarm on my cellphone. That way it’s the very first thing I see in the morning and it gets me motivated to get out of bed.

Acceptance Know and BE OKAY with things that are unchangeable, like a bad past or your genetic makeup. Remind yourself of the beauty surrounding you, focusing on the best of what life has given you. Journaling before bed every night is my greatest acceptance tool. It helps me jot down my emotions, the major accomplishments of the day and even write out my frustrations.

Courage Be brave and recognize that not everything is permanent. You have the willpower to manifest your own reality and live your best life. Yoga helps me to strengthen my mind and be more courageous with movements in class, knowing that no one is judging and your mind is the only obstacle in the way of your transformation.

Wisdom Don’t give yourself excuses; be self-aware and open-minded to advice from others. Making a phone call to my grandparents is the most enriching experience for me when I am struggling with a big decision or having a bad day. So talk to loved ones or friends–sometimes another set of ears lets you know you’re not alone.

This is my mantra, but it may not be yours. Think about the words you pray, hear, read. Was there something a relative or friend always said that resonates with you, maybe a favorite quote, or song lyric? Take time to reflect on it, find your mantra and make it yours.