The deeper truths to gaining power to be in control of living your best life
The end of the year is here; our grand opportunity to reflect back on all the bullshit that contaminates those precious memories and significant achievements that make us grateful for the life we are living. We can’t deny that without the bullshit, we wouldn’t know how to appreciate the grace and goodness life offers. This New Year’s Eve, heading into 2020, I lift my glass to the bullshit, because without it, I wouldn’t have my 2020 Vision of Power.
Power is a means of being in control of your life, accepting things we cannot change, changing the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. You’ve heard this timeless insight through the Serenity Prayer, or if you’re like me, Sinead O’Connor said it first. The deeper truths within this insight deserve a closer look. These deeper truths are the foundation of power granted through the sage serenity prayer and the principles that support my 2020 Vision of Power.
Active acceptance brings peace and power - Acceptance is not a passive act accomplished through laziness or apathy. Acceptance takes vigilance and strength. We will get to the part about what we can or cannot change in a sec. First, it is worth focusing simply on what it means to actively accept.
My cousin is one of my dearest friends. She is who I call whenever I get lost in the commotion of family situations I am having a hard time accepting. She never fails me with words of wisdom when I need them most, usually exposing my irrational tendencies and unwillingness to accept. She listens to the rant, and then after her moment of contemplative silence, she wonders, “Why would you expect anything different from them?”
It’s too easy to get lost in a reactive moment of family drama. We know these people, but accepting them when things get personal requires vigilance, or a fabulous cousin who reminds you that you’ve been robbed of your power by focusing on unmet expectations rather than acceptance.
“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” ― Michael J. Fox
Acceptance doesn’t mean you suck it up, though. Again, my cousin points this out as I refuse to accept matters in my state of fury. Acceptance does not require us to be complacent. It requires us to rely on our own inner strength to create a fortress against that which tends to tear us down.
We have to stop needing acceptance from others and gain the strength to accept ourselves despite others. Sometimes that means distancing yourself or brushing off bad behavior, with the understanding that the behavior of others is a reflection of them, not you. Which brings us to what we can or cannot change.
“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” – Carl Jung
Courage to change ourselves - The courage to change the things you can only means changing yourself. There is nothing else you have the power to change. That is the truth behind the wisdom of knowing the difference between what we can or cannot change. In fact, many spiritual teachers point out that changing yourself is the way to change the world. The world won’t change unless we do.
You can change what you do, what you say, how you say it, what you think, and what you know. That’s a lot to work on, so if you find yourself worried about what someone else does, says, thinks, or knows, remember that is not your business and you can’t do anything to change it. Acceptance first, and if we feel unsatisfied with the circumstance, we look inward to implement a change. That is where we find power.
If you think you can’t change, that this is who you are, that there’s no chance you can be anything else, then you are powerless. You’ve given every bit of power away through that limiting belief. Accepting who you are is vital, but if who you’ve been has not brought you peace and happiness, it’s time to muster up the courage to change.
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou
Resisting reality is a waste of time - If acceptance is power and change only comes from within ourselves, then focusing on anything other than active acceptance and changing ourselves to improve our experience in the world is an utter waste of time. Our lifetime is finite; wasting time is not an option.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu
The things we cannot change will waste our time. Unless we accept this reality and stop giving our power away to things we cannot change, we will be drained of power we can be using to reach new heights and make the world a better place.
We cannot change our past, our family, our generational history. We can’t change human nature, natural disasters, or the laws of physics. We cannot change what other people think of us, what others believe, what others decide, or what others do. We might influence them, but only if they let us. We cannot change someone's level of willingness to change. So, don’t waste your time.
Certainty imprisons you. Curiosity sets you free. - There is no power without freedom. When we practice active acceptance, we allow ourselves to be curious about what is truly triggering our discontent. Rarely is the object of our discontent the true cause of our misery. It is always something wounded within us that we’ve failed to address. Acceptance of a situation allows us to be open to the underlying cause of our suffering, rather than projecting frustration at a situation that remains out of our control.
We chain ourselves to societal conditioning and baseless beliefs when we hold on to a certainty about the way things should be. Certainty robs us of freedom, stripping us of power. Accepting the reality of the way things are and remaining open to an inner exploration of the root cause of our suffering is how to gain back power. A willingness to be curious about what’s within, while accepting what is without, is powerful.
“I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess.” ― Walt Whitman
Pain is power - Accepting hardship is at the heart of the Serenity Prayer. Painful situations present us with golden opportunities to forgive, empathize, apologize, reorganize, or take responsibility; all actions that enhance our power. Most of all, pain teaches us the lessons we need to be better versions of ourselves. Within every painful circumstance, we have the opportunity to find the strength for active acceptance, the courage to change ourselves, the vigilance to avoid wasting time with the things we cannot change, and the curiosity that will set us free from our self-inflicted prison.
“The demon that you can swallow gives you its power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply.” ― Joseph Campbell
Finally, lighten up - Accepting life as it is, letting go of expectations, staying open and curious about yourself, and not wasting time with things that are not your business is freedom, and freedom is light and airy! Freedom is not heavy and serious. Feel free to lighten up, laugh it up, dance it off, it’s all good. Even when it’s not.
“There are many things evil people can take from you. However, they can never steal your ability to laugh and laugh loud.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Feel free to adopt my 2020 Vision of Power in your own life. The world can use your phenomenal power!