On a slightly more serious note...

God give me the serenity to accept things which cannot be changed;
Give me courage to change things which must be changed;
And the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.

This can be a powerful personal philosophy. When faced with a difficulty, you can first evaluate whether or not it is within your ability to change, and based on that either learn to live with it or do something about it. Some people may be slightly put off by the title "prayer" and the idea of making a plea to God. To those people I propose giving it another shot. You can remove the reference to God and treat the words as a personal reminder to act sane. Then perhaps add "resolve" along with courage, and you might end up with something like this:

"Have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage and resolve to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

Think about it the next time seems don't thing to be going your way: "What can I do to make the situation better?" It seems likely that if more people thought like this, the world might be a better place. At the least, there would be less complaining.

Here's a hint: even if a problem seems insurmountable, there's usually something an individual can do about it.

dutchess says: Al-Anon material points out that "things I cannot change" includes the alcoholic; "things I can" include myself.

The full text of the serenity prayer reads as follows:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

This prayer was allegedly written by Reinhold Niebuhr in 1934. He was a theologian and a preacher, as well as a defender of human rights, a pacifist and a lecturer. Although he wrote it and then thought little of it, Alcoholics Anonymous published the prayer in one of its pamphlets and it's fame grew, it now being part of the twelve step programme for recovering from alcoholism. Despite a rather prolific career and many books on life, love, justice, peace and religion, the Serenity Prayer is Niebuhr's most famous work.

Other sources suggest that it was in fact Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, a German deacon, who wrote the opening three lines to the prayer in the 18th century, but Niebuhr took it from the German, translated and embellished it into the form more commonly used today.


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