AdSense Page Ads

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Serenity Prayer

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.

-attributed to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr-

It is human nature to fight and try their best to get what they want. That is why we human are still considered as the most superior being on Earth. Nevertheless, it is also a human nature to choose something less hazardous and less troublesome (in other word, to flight) for their convenience, and that explains why we are still indeed Earth-bound.

When to fight and when to flight? This is truly an age-old question. Walter Cannon in 1915 states that animals (can also be referred as "human") react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal (again, can also be referred as "human") for fighting or fleeing.
The system has been properly explained, yet the question remains: when to fight and when to flight?

- If someone is doing you injustice,will you defend your self or just ignore it?
- If someone speak ill of you, will you make try to them suffer or just ignore it?
- If someone mistreated your loved ones, will you stand up and fight or just ignore it?
These are only very few of the fight-or-flight situation that we experience everyday. Logical (and aggressive) thinker would definitely do the first one, they'll fight. I mean, the second choice is for door mat, and we are NOT door mat! Or at least that's how I perceive things. But is it the right thing to do?

These situation (and many others like them) have one similar thread, they all correlates with other people. My very best friend and I had been in the situation, and he did exactly the opposite. He simply ignore it. Of course, ignoring is definitely belittling of what he actually did. He ignore the injustice but secretly take me away where they can't hurt me anymore. He ignore the ill-words because he believe I am not like that. He ignore the ill-treatment but again take me away, sheltered me and assure me that i am worthy instead of worthless. And he did all that relatively clean and healthy while I'm still tattered and broken, because you see, I lost the war. The lesson? Human can not be change, unless they want to be changed. And it is completely useless to forcing on changing (read:fight) something that's unchangeable.

It took me years to understand this prayer, and even more to do it (I'm still having difficulties). It is harder to let go and accept that we can not change things (a.k.a flight mode), than to simply bonk my head and try to change things (a.k.a fight mode). But you know what, that's just how the world is. A very dear and wise friend once ask me, do I know why we train ourselves to do martial art. I said to protect ourselves, to fight. He merely smiled and said that actually it is to surrender and accept things. He said we need to be strong, so we can try our best in life regardless the result, because only after we try our best that we can accept things. As I explain, it took far greater strength to humble ourselves and accept things than to fight with brute force.

Problems in life come and go, as sure as the high tide and low tide of the ocean. So many people advise others on what to do for their problems. I, being an ordinary human, am one of the advice givers and also the recipient. But sometimes, no matter how well the advice given or how hard the recipient try to do the advice, the problem will not change, if the people correlates with the problem do not wish to change, or the condition not enabling things to be changed. if that happens, the best thing that you can do is to put your hands together, and pray: God, give me strength to accept this.

Acceptance is never a defeat. Adaptation will come with acceptance, and the problems will matter no more once you adapt to it. Get up to your feet and fight bravely for what you think is necessary, for things that are dear and important for your. And when you know it can not be change, when you realize that you cannot win the war, flight to your camp and accept it with smile on your face. The proud yet humble acceptance makes you the real winner. The age old question answered at last. But it can not be answered without sincerely reciting the last part of the prayer, for God to grant us the Wisdom to know the difference.

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

-The philosopher W.W. Bartley -

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog