Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘greater confidence’

Developing Serenity

We have all read the Serenity Prayer at some point in our lives. ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can change. And the wisdom to know the difference.’ If you are like me it seems I have read this a million times and yet actually applying its deeper meaning seems to work better when issues are less critical or important in life. When the ‘big dogs’ of problems surface oftentimes, the real meaning of this prayer is lost and we find ourselves simply reacting as we have done in the past and feeling more and more frustrated with the results. We typically take the path we have chosen so often in our lives because it has become a conditioned response.

As with so many significant sayings in life we can mouth the words, even memorize them and yet never completely internalize them which will cause a change in our attitude, beliefs and behavior. I have chosen to use the Serenity Prayer over the next few blogs to delve more deeply into what it can do for us. The few words contained in the prayer have tremendous potential to help us arrive at a greater sense of confidence, peace and wisdom in our lives. It is worth taking the time to think about in greater depth over the next week. It can help us harness the power of these words and then apply them when we face the next truly big challenge in our lives.

The Serenity Prayer basically boils down to two issues: learning how to accept with grace and humility the things in life that cannot be changed or learning how to dig deep to surface the needed courage to change the things that are possible for us to change. Seems straight forward enough doesn’t it? Ah, but as with everything else in life simplicity is an art that only results after wrestling with the true complexity of the elements behind it. Determining which path to take is, of course, the ultimate challenge but it is not a mere choice arrived at easily but rather the result of understanding and examining the complex web of emotions and beliefs established from our early conditioning, cultural mores and personal life experiences.

To begin our more in depth look at the deeper meaning of the prayer I would ask you to consider the following questions.

Which approach is usually HARDER for you … accepting the things you truly cannot change (without anger or resentment) or finding the courage to actually change the things (with grace and tenacity) that you can change?

Your answer to the above question is important. As individuals we have a preference for one approach over the other. It doesn’t mean that we can’t use the other approach but it is not something we typically do or prefer to do especially when dealing with the ‘biggies’ in life.

Your answer is very important as we continue to dive deeper into the well of understanding about human emotions in our goal to develop greater wisdom and Serenity. In essence, in one response we are dealing with learning to trust more fully and with the other response learning how to better control our fears. Both are difficult but achievable behavioral changes. One answer is not better than the other it is simply different and will help us decide on the next pathway to follow. In the meantime after you decide which approach is harder for you the logical step is to ask yourself the question – why? Really think about why that particular approach is harder for you – just a hint – it is usually the result of early conditioning.

Stay tuned and we will follow up on the possible ‘why’ in the next blog.

Have a great few days!

Badge of Courage, Tenacity and Resiliency

Developing greater resiliency in life is important not only for survival but for a happier, more joyful existence. We may wonder what causes some people to be more confident and unflappable. Have they simply led a charmed life free of pain, sorrow or loss? Probably not. Remember, everyone has their story to tell.

It may appear that their lives seem easier than ours – less traumatic – less burdensome. It is possible that they have had a series of remote misses in their life that did not directly affect them. I have not met many of these types but they do exist and are rare birds indeed. We, on the other hand, may have experienced direct hits or near misses altering our speed and trajectory momentarily. Gladwell talks about near misses and remote misses in his book, ‘David and Goliath.’ He says a near miss leaves you traumatized and a series of remote misses leaves you feeling somewhat invincible.

Another possibility is that these ‘unflappable types’ often remind themselves that 99% of what most people worry about never comes to pass. They may seem to just know, deep down, that everything in life happens for a purpose and that they will survive. They feel confident that will get through the present life altering experience possibly battered and bloodied in the process but otherwise in tact. These folks make it a practice to reflect on their past experiences and challenges to search for the lessons they have learned. As a result they have developed greater confidence and resiliency in handling their tomorrows. You can practically see their three point badge of courage, tenacity and resiliency handed to them from The Universe.

With badge in hand they look to the future not with trepidation but hope for an even better tomorrow. Feeling hopeful and confident does not eliminate the future challenges but allows them an invisible shield of protective armor as they move forward. As each new challenge presents itself in their life, they manage to get through it, reflect on what they have learned and in the process become stronger.

As Gladwell says, ‘We are prone to be afraid of being afraid and the conquering of fear produces exhilaration.’ The next time you are faced with a major life challenge and are unsure of your strength to endure, just remember, this too shall pass and you will be more resilient having lived through it. You will never be the same but will be wiser as you move forward on your life journey. Although we don’t applaud them, adversity and experience are great teachers.

Reflecting on your life you will probably remember at least five major life altering experiences and yet here you are reading this blog. That means you made it through, you survived and you are more resilient than ever! Congratulations!

Have a great few days!