Knowing when to change, and when to adapt

Posted: 27 April, 2012 in motivation
Tags: , , , ,

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.

Knowing what we can change and what we can’t change can make all the difference between finding a solution to a problem and suffering through a situation that makes us feel powerless and unhappy.

While it seems the most popular advice given for any problem these days encourages change, it isn’t always the best solution.  Unhappy at work? Get a new job! Problems in your relationship? Leave!  It isn’t always easy to take such drastic steps, and it’s often a radical move that can be avoided with a simple change in perspective.  I’m a big advocate of choosing change over stagnation, but sometimes it’s not a physical change that will help us – it’s our ability (and willingness) to adapt to our situation.  Adaptation means making certain changes to our thinking and looking inside ourselves for a solution instead of changing our external environment, which isn’t always possible.  After all, there are only so many changes we can make to our environment.  Making a small internal change can make all the difference between happiness and misery. And, often, only the smallest change is required to improve any situation.

For example, instead of thinking “I have to …” think “I get to …”  I don’t have to go for a walk, I get to go for a walk.  What a privilege! I don’t have to go to work, I get to go to work.  I don’t have to visit my family, I get to spend time with my family.  How lucky am I!  Reminding myself that I may not always have the opportunity to do these things helps me to see another side of a situation I’m unhappy with.  In thinking like this I’m not really changing anything but by altering my perspective I am adopting a new way of thinking that helps me appreciate things in my life that I have previously taken for granted.

I’ve definitely made some major changes this year. Everything in my personal and professional life is exactly the way I’ve always wanted it to be.  But I still find myself unhappy with certain aspects of my life.  This is where I need to accept how things are, accept there are things I cannot change any more than I already have, and continue to make changes where I can – in my thinking and attitude.  While this isn’t always easy, it does get easier with practice. In accepting the things I cannot change and changing the things I can I am slowly building a life and a lifestyle that is helping me be a better person.  And, for me, that’s what this year is all about.

  1. Of all the changes we can make in life, changing ourselves is usually the hardest – and most rewarding. I like your perspective.

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