Last year I made one and only one resolution. In essence I vowed to accept the things I cannot change.
I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, but I did set a goal for 2013. This year I want to focus on accepting the things in life that I cannot change. As I was walking my son through the neighborhood this afternoon I couldn’t get the following verse out of my head:
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.
Some things in life simply don’t change. Take people as an example. You can hope they will mature or become selfless as they age, but the truth is most of us don’t radically alter our personality traits from year to year. If you don’t like to share as a child, odds are that you won’t want to share as an adult.
Of course, I want to see the good in people, but so many times it is the bad traits that cause us heartbreak and distress.
This year I don’t want to focus on the negative. I don’t want to think that people will change. Instead I want to accept people for who they are. I want to change my reactions to their behaviors. I want to avoid the topics and interactions that cause fights to erupt and emotions to soar. Some of that will be possible and some won’t, but overall I want to limit time spent dwelling on the negative.
So how did I do?
For one I carved out areas of space for myself. I made certain to avoid the conversations and events that involved people that seem to pour salt into my wounds. This helped immensely. When I could not avoid the people and places that irritate me I did my best to put myself into their shoes. I tried to see the world from their perspective and although I still became frustrated on more occasions than I can count it did give me a better peace of mind overall.
I spent much less time dwelling on the negative and much more time enjoying the day-to-day moments that bring happiness to my life. That is relatively easy to do with a smiling two year old toddler beside me. It’s easy to push aside negative feelings when you feel such love in the everyday moments that make up our life.
I also tried to spend less time worrying and more time proactively searching for solutions. When I worried about my son’s speech I called the infant and toddler program in our area for an evaluation and read every book on childhood speech I could lay my hands on. It turns out that he just didn’t learn to speak as quickly as all of his little friends who happen to be girls. I’d love to say that I kept my negativity and worry at bay until he started talking in five to six word sentences but that wasn’t the case. I did my best though to take action rather than worrying while sitting idle.
I am certainly not finished with this resolution. As with anything in life I am a work in progress and I still have a long way to go to accept the things I cannot change, but I do think I’m getting better at it.