Accepting things you cannot change is one of the most practical things you can do.
Why? Because the energy you would use to try to change something you cannot change can be put to better use in order to mold the kind of life you truly want to live.
Over the years, I’ve come across many adages and philosophies that embody the concept of accepting things you cannot change. Reinhold Niebuhr prayed:
“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.”
This is a practical prayer, probably one of the most practical prayers I’ve ever heard because it tells you how to deal with obstacles and uncertainty in your life with 3 main steps:
- First, and the most important, it tells you to look to the Most High.
- It informs you that there are things you cannot change and things you can change—things you have power over and things you don’t have power over.
- And it’s important to know the difference.
Stoicism is built on the similar tenet of dichotomy of control which states there are things that are in your power and things that are not in your power. Circumstances(on a wholesale level) are a great example of something that is not in your control.
Circumstances may not be in your power but your reaction to circumstances are in your power.
For example, suppose there’s bad weather. It’s raining and you hate the rain. You can complain about the rain or you can grab an umbrella. Your attitude towards the rain—grabbing the umbrella—makes it easier to weather(no pun intended).
In the book “The Law Of Attraction” by Esther and Jerry Hicks, accepting things you cannot change is called “the art of allowing” which says that you should allow people to choose what they want while you go your own way or else you’ll make what they’re choosing your point of attraction.
Your point of attraction is what you focus on. And the more your focus on that point of attraction the more of it you get.
For example, if you focus on all the bad in the world, you’re only going to keep seeing more of the bad in the world. Instead of focusing on the bad, it’s advantageous to focus on the good.
Optimism doesn’t mean that you’re embracing naïveté. It’s acknowledging all that is right despite all that is wrong, bad or outside our preferences.
We came into this life experience to carve out the kind of life we want to live with limited control. There’s no use in wasting the energy we’ve been given on things that are immovable.
It’s much more practical to work on the things we directly impact.