On Saturday Night after winning the Middleweight title,  boxer Kelly Pavlik, in a post fight interview, was asked, “what were you thoughts after almost getting knocked out in round 2?’  He stated “sh*t it’s going to be a long night!!!!”

We’ve all had days like this.  In fact, after my own recent  fiasco’s with electricians, light bulbs that didn’t work, fixtures that didn’t work, etc., I could have said the exact same thing.  However a funny thought came through my mind–“you need to accept the things you cannot change”.  This line from the Serenity Prayer

(…to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference)

did exactly what it was suppose to do.  It brought me right to acceptance.  Instantly a great feeling of calm came over me.

The potency and calming effect of  this one line becomes a great coping tool for all situations that are out of our control.  It can become a meditative statement to say over and over.  As I’ve said to more than one client, “it’s a line 1 problem”.(Accept the things you cannot change)   This statement becomes a great shorthand solution for all the agonizing over life’s hassles.  (interesting enough it’s line 2–changing what can be changed is even more potent, but that’s a discussion for another day)

Many years ago, a client of mine was struggling with dealing with family issues.  I introduced her to this whole acceptance concept.  Initially she misinterpreted  the meaning of the word acceptance.  In her mind it meant agreement.  I said you don’t have to agree with how they do things, you just need to accept that that’s how they do them.  With that, magic happened and the same calm I described earlier just engulfed her.  Accept became her favorite word.  It allowed her to literally accept what she could not change.

Fortunately, most of us are not prizefighters trying to avoid getting  knocked out by an onslaught of ferocious punches.  We can duck and weave our irrational thoughts and overwhelming feelings just by using some good coping statements.  Acceptance, using the serenity prayer, is one of the best ways to do this.

Leave a Reply