“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”
Most of us have come to a point in life in which we are faced with a decision to make. Some the decisions we have made led to success, while others were not so forgiving, detrimental even. All in all, once a decision is made, we have to deal with the end results, whether they be good, bad or indifferent. Well, let me take this up a notch, maybe it wasn’t a decision that you made. Maybe something happened to you or somebody that you know. This experience has led the individual down a path less than desirable, or it’s led down the elusive road of prosperity. Regardless of whether it was something that was intentional, premeditated, accidental, purposeful, etc., an individual must still deal with the “now”, the present, what is. We can always look back in hindsight and say what it is that we could’ve, would’ve, should have, fuck that. We must see things as they are now. We cannot rewind time, we cannot reverse the sands of the hourglass. Time is going to continue to move on whether you want it to or not. My intent is not to down play or be antipathetic or unsympathetic to any situation that a person may have found themselves in. We have all faced some type adversity, setback, undesirable action, violation, etc.
While I mention that time is not going to stop, it will provide a way of being able to heal or to correct things that have happened. We see it our planet. Wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding. After every catastrophe there is period in which there is loss, but with loss comes the opportunity for new life. It’s just the natural cycle of things. Just as there is a natural cycle of our ecological system, there is a natural cycle with our own existence. I have summed it up into three important steps: Acknowledgement, Acceptance, and Application. This is not a rock solid theory and I’m not trying to force anybody to subscribe to this idea, but it is just that, an idea. This idea can be applied to many facets of ones existence. Whether you are trying to move on, let go or solve a problem, keeping these three things in mind may help one to focus on the issue, rather than treat the symptoms of that particular problem.
There are times when we may do or something and people may react in a way that we don’t understand. The impact of our words or actions is something that people tend to recognize. Some folk don’t care about a situation unless it directly affects them, an excuse that you may hear on a regular basis (“Oh I don’t care about what’s on the news or what’s going on in China or some other country, cause that ain’t got nothing to do with me”). I used to subscribe to that same pattern of thought. What I failed to realize or acknowledge was that, while it may not directly affect me today, it may play a role somewhere down the line. When we acknowledge something we are saying that I know and/or understand what has transpired. I like to believe that we are all intelligent beings, but we are prone to making some less than intelligent decisions. This may be due to a lack of knowledge or understanding of a specific topic. You cannot assume a person knows something because we were not all raised the exact same way. This is also something that needs to be acknowledged. Although we all were not raised in the same exact fashion, that doesn’t mean that the intent was not the same. Every parent wants their child to grow up, be healthy, get an education and be able to able to fend for themselves. We all want a good life for our children. I don’t want to seem like I’m going off topic, but it’s all relevant. The first step in anything is acknowledgement. You have to recognize where you are, what you are doing, where you want to be before you are able to make any progress. This is not an easy thing for some people to do. Some people don’t want to relive or replay those painful moments or that feeling of embarrassment. But it is vital that we set aside that fear, for if one doesn’t acknowledge what they have gone through, that person is susceptible or prone to making that same choice again which led to their initial pain. Again, I’m not saying that it is an easy process. It’ll take time and courage to face a lot of the things that may have happened in one’s lifetime, but eventually you’ll have to come to terms with it and stop running. The further you try to run away from a situation, the closer behind it’s going to remain. If you continue to pile other things on top of the issue, you run the risk of corrupting your foundation and prevent anything from growing out of it, well positive at least. The things that are sprouted out of this imbalance or negativity are subject to carrying on that corruption or infection. So, step one, acknowledge the situation, issue, your own feelings, etc. Don’t run from it, don’t hide, don’t make any excuses, just recognize that something has happened or that you feel a certain kind of way.
I started out this post with the serenity prayer. The exact origin of this prayer is unknown, but it has become one of the most commonly used prayers, especially among the AA community. Oh yeah, for those of you that didn’t know, I did spend a brief amount of time in an inpatient substance abuse program during the last days of me being in the Army. During my stint in the program, I learned a lot about myself and those who were around me. While I didn’t believe that I had a problem with drinking, I did have to accept the fact that the way I was dealing with my problems was not the most constructive. Anybody that has been in the military will tell you the nature of things. We went to work, got off, usually got a few people together to buy some alcohol. We’d consume our beverages, probably while listening to music and playing dominoes, PS2, etc. This was a daily occurrence, but the amount of alcohol we were collectively consuming may have been a little excessive. Anyway, the point is there is always a better way of handling an issue. First I acknowledged the fact that there was something wrong in my life. Now at the time you can pick and choose the problems that I was going through in all aspects of my life. But I had to accept the fact that I couldn’t go back, that I couldn’t change what has happened. More so than accepting the condition or outcome of a situation, there lies another thing that some people would rather not do. We must be able to accept responsibility for our role or our actions which may have led to an unfavorable or undesirable situation. I believe that this is key to being able to constructively deal with anything in life. Some people just aren’t willing to accept responsibility because it may be seen as an admittance of fault or failure. That is an issue of pride, which I covered in a previous blog. Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes to be wrong about anything, even me. However, there does come a time when an individual should be humble enough to admit when they are wrong or when they have made a mistake; accept their responsibility in the situation, take ownership of their shortcoming and then proceed to moving on or correcting the situation. So we’ve covered the first two topics, however brief, now it’s time to move into the last part, Application….
This may actually be the trickiest part in conflict resolution. Okay, you’ve acknowledged the fact that something is wrong. You’ve analyzed the situation, gone over it in your brain a dozen times and have accepted the situation for what it is. Game over right? But what happens if you continue to do the same thing over and over again? But I’ve done all the necessary thinking. I’ve done all that I can do, so why do things keep messing up? Well, what have you done to prevent these things from happening again? Granted, there is no clear answer, no magic bullet, incantation, prayer, etc., that is going to prevent an issue from happening. What worked for one individual or situation may not work for another. So you must find a way to apply your own lessons learned relative to your situation. My path may not be the same road you are supposed to walk on. We can take things from different situations and try to apply them to our lives, but results may vary. That’s just like trying to update your operating system or the firmware on your phone or something. If you running Windows 98 or something, you not gonna be able to do the same things that someone on Vista is doing (not a very good analogy because Vista is a horrible operating system, but that’s just my opinion). So take heed in how you proceed with moving forward, letting go or dealing with a situation. Take a careful look at HOW you are applying what you’ve learned from a situation. While people think that they have learned their lesson, they fail to put safeguards in place to ensure or mitigate the risk of something happening.
Now I’m no counselor, I’m no professional, hell I’m not the authority on anything. I’m just an average dude with the same types of concerns that many people have. I want to experience happiness, joy, success. But I know that success doesn’t come without a price, some sort of sacrifice. I can go on and on, rambling and ranting with my thoughts and theories. My goal is to hopefully reach somebody, to be able help someone out. In the process, I’m sure I will learn some things that will help me along the way. And with me, nothing is ever concrete. If new information is presented me, I may change how I feel and look back at how I thought and recognize that it was only relevant for that time period in life. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, these are only my thoughts and opinions that I am expressing. I feel very convicted with how I feel and how I think, which allows me to be comfortable enough to share myself with the world. Hopefully during these conversations you can take something from them and apply it to your own life or help somebody else out. We’re all in this together and I feed off the love and support of all people. I even feed off the negativity and hate of others. So with that said, I open the floor up to you, my people and as always I’ll still love ya tomorrow….