The Serenity Prayer — chances are you know this one. (If you don’t, I’d like to invite you out from under your rock. It’s a pretty nice world out here, most of the time.)
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.
No disrespect to Reinhold Niebuhr who penned this back in the 1930s but I’d like to give it a quick update.
I commit to accepting myself for who I am,
Changing the things that I can,
And learning how to balance the two.
How hard is it to change? Answer: HARD. It’s even harder when you’re doing it from a place of self-disgust. That’s why the Serenity Prayer is still so applicable today. It gives us a hint as to how we should go about this whole changing thing.
You cannot change until you learn to accept yourself.
Life is a balance between acceptance and change. In order to start on the path to change, you first have to know that you are WORTHY of being, doing, and having better. That’s where the real motivation lies. If you know you’re worthy of having the life you desire, you will stay on track when things get tough (or get back on track more quickly when you slip up). And isn’t it true on the flip side that in order to fully accept yourself you have to embrace the ways you fall short? Ignoring the parts of yourself that you’re not so fond of isn’t acceptance, it’s denial. You’ve gotta love the whole package.
Everything that I do as a coach includes these two pieces. I help my clients learn who they are, LOVE who they are, and practice better self-care. I also help them create a vision for their future, set goals and make a plan, and take practical steps to achieve them.
If you find yourself starting and stopping on your goals, breaking promises to yourself, and having a hard time changing the things in your life that need to change, step back and take a look at how you’re feeling about YOU. Are you trying to change from a place of self-acceptance and love? Or it from a place of self-loathing? Are you speaking kindly to yourself? Or are you berating yourself every time you mess up? If it’s the latter, you’ve uncovered the problem.
Your next move is to dive deep into that negative self-talk, pull back the curtain on your shame, and shine a light onto those dark places. It’s hard work but it’s the only thing that will lead to lasting change. And it’s worth it. YOU’RE worth it.