August 26th: The Serenity Prayer

“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.”

I had heard the Serenity prayer many times over the years but it became something that I said without thinking: More of a hum than any words with actual meaning.

While going through my divorce, I once again became more aware of its power.

I needed to accept the things I could not change.

I could not change my husband’s feelings. If he didn’t love me anymore… if he was unwilling to work on our relationship… if he was unwilling to be married… I could do nothing to change it.

I hated that I couldn’t change things.

I didn’t want to accept it.

I had to remind myself that accepting something didn’t mean that I had to like it.

It didn’t mean that I thought that what was happening was “just fine.”

It didn’t mean that I agreed with another person’s actions or decisions.

It didn’t mean that I condoned another person’s treatment of me.

It just meant that I had to accept life “as is.”

Good or bad.

Right or wrong.

Hurtful or helpful.

On that given day… on any given day… I had to accept that I could not change it.

I must accept it.

The only thing I could do was to work on myself; work on the things inside of me that kept me from being the happy, healthy, serene person that I wanted to be.

I found acceptance by fearlessly looking inside to see what I needed to work on, to be a better person not for my husband, but for myself.

I must remember, that by becoming aware of my need to accept things “as is” and by being willing to work on the one thing I can change, myself and my attitudes toward a particular situation, I can obtain the wisdom that will bring me my serenity.

“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.” 

21 thoughts on “August 26th: The Serenity Prayer

  1. Thank you – great post today. As I’ve read your blog over the past 45 days regularly, and as I pass through a difficult divorce, I can’t tell you how much your experiences and reflections have helped me recognize something that I’ve been continually fighting — it’s okay to care about yourself. It’s not about being selfish.
    I realize now that I can become a whole person again, and therefore, better to myself, as well as those I care about and new people I will come to know.
    I’ve spent so much time taking care of or focusing on my soon to be ex and other problems, that I lost myself.
    I’m trying to open up to having the patience and allowing the investment of time in my health, peace of mind, and finding joy again.

  2. It is REALLY easy to do Patricia: caretake someone else better than we care for ourselves… and even now… I still find myself wasting precious time and energy every now and then on someone else who is definitely not putting the same effort into thinking about my needs! 🙂 The more you care for yourself… the more you learn to set better boundaries… the better you will be and better able to be there for others when they truly do need you. 🙂 You are making it through this each and every day. Just keep moving forward…. you can do it! I’m here for you! 🙂 D.

  3. I am starting to feel some progress, finally. Staying tuned in to the present, and catching myself drifting into old thoughts and old ways, is a challenge!!

  4. This is great to see with a year of reflection also.
    Thought I was taking better care even 6 months ago, but it’s finally happening now.
    With no guilt.
    If I’m better at taking care , what I have for my family and friends is becoming better too!
    I was way out of bounds being so focused on making my ex and everyone “happy” … Which no one can really do

  5. It’s funny to me how many years I have now been out of my marriage but reflecting on these meditations STILL reminds me of how far I have come and how relevant the meditations are in my “now” life at keeping me on track 🙂 D.

  6. Well put. I’m a fixer… always have. A McGuyver…. proud of myself that I could fix things, make something out of nothing, use what I had on hand to to accomplish my goal. Wouldn’t give up and if I thought it out enough I would come up with an answer. Having this mindset…I approached my separation and her decision that she has made and I could fix it if I thought about it obsessively. If I could think it all out I would get some type of relief. I’m working on accepting I can’t change her mind. Still trying to help her from a distance out of habit. Only I can fix myself and have control over my feelings. Make myself happy. My grief and obsessive thoughts have entered into every aspect of my life. I have little peace and don’t take care of myself. Somehow I feel guilty and not a whole person on my own.I read somewhere that the world didn’t change… I did. Hope I’m not the only one out there going thru this. I know my next step is acceptance. Maybe some relief will flow over me when I finally do. Sorry if this post might not make sense.

    • Matt, how are you doing? It is almost a year now since your post (which by the way made sense to ALL of us!) 🙂 I thought I could logic everything just like you and I too pride myself on that MacGyver mindset. I hope you are doing well… I hope you are finding your way… and I hope you know that I am still here for you. D. 🙂

  7. I didn’t see Matt’s post until now. I hope your life is on a path of being about you and growing . I had a hell of a time getting to a point of shutting off the chatter of : “what is my ex thinking or doing ?” Trying to compare my life to his .
    And although I still loved him in some ways , I just conceded to the divorce and worked hard to expedite it.
    There was no peace , no justification to hold the marriage together , and although I’d say I knew him better than anyone in terms of the years together and how close we were … When the damage is done you have to finally give in , accept , grieve and see that YOU are going to be alright , YOU have value , and there are many around you who really care .

    I’m two years into being separated from my ex and almost two years with a finalized divorce .
    Have faith when you walk out the door each day that the world is looking pretty good out
    there , and you’re part of it.

  8. D.. I’m still having to work so hard at feeling okay about living my own way … And that it still contributes to friends and family I care about. This post is a great reminder , and a moment of peace 🙂

    • It takes time… just hang in there… you know that I’ve been EXACTLY where you are! The more you become comfortable with the “authentic” you… the easier it will be… and then this amazing sense of calm… will come over you… 🙂 D.

  9. Hello everyone…Update…still not divorced but its getting to the end of the process. Tried to work out details between us without lawyers., but when one side shuts’re left talking to yourself. But I have have come so far since then. I know now I’m going to be alright…before I didn’t see I had a future. Some days my mind is calmer than others. Angry and sad in the same breath. Patricia you are right about the “chatter”. Didn’t think I mattered. Couldn’t make a decision without the other half. But it’s getting better. Going to the Gym, working , doing things with others. Laughing, joking again. No Meds. Bitterness,anger and all of that creeps in now and then. Flashbacks will try to override the “present” and that can be a battle. But I understand my brain and heart is trying to heal itself even when “we” don’t understand. I tried running from it but in the end I choose to file so I can begin again. Be comfortable with me being me. I MATTER. ..thanks to everyone that commented after me. I’m still here and getting better. JMW

    • Matt, so glad to hear that you are getting better. I’m a few years down the path from you and Patricia but I promise you the chatter will diminish, the emotions will cool, you will begin to enjoy making decisions on your own, and continue to move forward into your new life. I remember the day my husband took all of his things and moved out… I was heartbroken… and then he left and I had this moment where I looked around and said, “Wow… look at all of this room! I can do whatever I want with the house now.” 🙂 That joyous moment was brief… but it was as if my new life was already pushing through and opening things up for me if I could just step back from the emotion. I also had to admit that I had actually been alone emotionally for many years… that he had been absent long before he physically left… that took time… but today… my life is true to who I am… the person I am with is kind to me and wants to be in this with me… it is a difference that I could not fathom during that emotional time period. I hope you will stay in touch and let us know how you are doing… D.

  10. thank god for this daily post so I can get my bearings of where I am at during this time of change. It is my understanding that God wanted all of me and so came the divorce so I could get a true look at how I had lost myself in another person and a relationship of 20 years that was not the best for me, it was time to let go and move on, the hardest thing I have ever had to do. today I embrace the serenity prayer every morning, Gods guidance as presented by the recovery of 12 step program and finally the hurt and pain has subsided. I am so greatful at the age of 59 to get a second chance to start anew and find that person that lives from a state of god conscious thinking to share my life with, but today I am in no hurry, just enjoying my day and my life. I am grateful for the peace and serenity in my life today, it all does get better. God bless.

    • Robert… so glad you are here with us… Someone once told me that my husband leaving and my divorce was my Higher Power getting me out of my own way because I would have stayed in that relationship to the end… trying to make someone happy that to do this day… is still not very happy. I was upset when they said it at the time… but now I see that it was the truth. My life today is not always perfect but… it is authentic to who I am and the person I now share it with works as hard as I do to show love, figure things out, move forward as a team. Remember that I walked where you walked… and I’m here for you. D.

  11. D- thank you ; I told one of my friends recently that I’m a happier person “all around” now – got so much loving support.

    But it’s actually still true. I loved him , held on for so long , and lost my Self for quite a while. Tried to do, care , fix everything.

    But I’m healing and don’t act that way anymore either .

    Matt you sound excellent , and you’re recognizing so much that has happened for both of you . And now you have your life on a path to re-energize it ! Happy for you despite the tough decisions that have come with it . You’re already on the road of “alright” 🙂

    Robert , I remember people asking me why I stayed so long , and I didn’t even see the forest for the trees until some really lousy things happened . I wondered where my life would go, and was scared and sad , but divorce was the healing path . And my ex needed it to be able to run , and escape. But turns out , that’s ok. That’s wonderful that you see your life growing going forward !

  12. Hi…Matt here…..checking in. Divorce was final around Jan…..didn’t know for 3 weeks. I tried to make things better between us and was trying to “help” that was second nature to me as if we were married stil. But outside influence and financial decisions by the other made it impossible to stay in contact. In April I cut ties and now i’ve reached a better peace and even started to look for a permament home instead of apartment. I’m now dating someone and we do things together. Yes…I still think about it everyday…but less and less. It will pop up now and then in my head…and my counsler taught me the “STOP” method…and I switch gears. I can be by myself and my dog and enjoy my own company. I’ve come far. There is life on the other side. I’ve been blessed and my situtation could be harder. I’m learning to live again. Going to the Gym…getting in better health has helped ME.

  13. Matt. So great to hear from you. I love knowing that you are moving forward (and seeing someone!) 🙂 I think it is great that you cut times… sometimes you need to step back and allow yourself an emotional breather. I had to do the same with my ex-husband. STOP method really works… it’s amazing how often you can start “thinking” about things and working out always helped me too. Keep us posted. You offer inspiration for the others here that have just started the long path. Angela is new and made a comment on August 1’st post… if you have time… I’m sure she would love to hear some perspective from someone farther (and further for that matter) on the path! 🙂 D.

  14. Checking in again…..I’ve bought a house in a nice neighborhood down where I went to grade school….a neighborhood I was envious of as a child. Still adjusting to my new life and there are times my mind is drawn into the past. The mind has to heal itself. A broken arm doesn’t just start doing what it used to the day the cast is taken off. I’ve stayed up with my Gym routine and still dating the same person. I’ve been blessed and things have worked out for me that I would not have dreamed of. I’m looking forward to working on my new yard this spring. A Red Delicious apple tree that has been negelected in the corner. I got a small sample before weather turned cold. Getting a wind chime for Christmas to put on my back porch and a Barn Star for the front. A place to call my own again. Keep moving forward everyone out there …..there are better times ahead. There are blessings in disguise sometimes. You are pulled out of a situtation…not of your understanding at the moment….till you have time to look back and see it. Celebrate small victorys. You matter…your special. You matter. : )

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