Updated: Apr 26, 2020
Regardless of one's belief about a higher being, the power of acceptance is undeniable.
Whether trying to accept something that is not in our control, or asking for the courage to change what is, the pathway to peace is a hopeful destination. The Serenity Prayer is commonly recited as: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference" (Reinhold Niebuhr, 1932). Acceptance is a tenant in several therapeutic approaches to counseling, but I might argue it is hardly achievable without self-compassion.
I would like to submit we augment the Serenity Prayer with a cathartic Serenity Plea: "Self grant me the compassion to accept myself and my experiences as part of my life's story, not as I am defined. May I open my eyes to see daily blessings large and small, and use survival strength to apply what I've learned to each day as I journey on."
We all have a unique life story. In my 20s, life had dealt what some might refer to as an unlucky hand of cards. After much physical pain and emotional turmoil, writing aided healing by allowing me to process through experiences. It was a long, silent journey during a time I didn't even know help was available.
After years of struggling, I began to apply self-compassion. I believe this was as turning point in my life as evident from a 1999 Post-It scribble:
Some are born with the innate ability
to accept whatever comes their way.
Inquisitive others question why…
look for a reason,
find peace in the search for answers,
and stillness in the acknowledgement of that peace.
I believe if you accept the past,
respect the pain,
believe in internal truth and beauty,
serenity will follow.
These are often defining moments in our lives. Once we realize we are human and begin to apply self-compassion, we progress on our journey toward acceptance and serenity.
For me, that was the moment I knew I wanted to help others find an end to suffering from any kind of emotional pain. In finding that meaning for the pain I experienced, I also realized my pain would no longer be in vain.
You don't have to spend years silently suffering, and you don't have to take this journey alone. Now a doctor of behavioral health and licensed professional clinical counselor supervisor, I am trained in evidence-based approaches that can help you along your pathway to serenity.
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