So… What Can You Change?

AA's serenity prayer

Several years ago someone I thought was a potential client told me they had checked and one of my references was totally bogus. It isn’t and I asked where they had gotten the misinformation. They never replied.

I told my best friend about it when happened and just today she asked if I’d ever been able to fix that misunderstanding. I said ‘no,’ and she commented that I seemed to have let it go entirely. I realized I have and the reason I’ve been able to let it go is there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. The email address from the person claiming to have checked the reference didn’t lead anywhere and they didn’t respond when I asked for more information. Besides, other people have looked at the same references since and several have hired me.

Echos of the serenity prayer! You know it:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. 

The trick, of course, is knowing the difference.

If, in this example, I’d been able to determine where they got the mis-information I could have tried to correct it at that level.  But since I couldn’t get them to tell me, I was stuck. There literally was nothing I could do or at least nothing reasonable.

A big piece of the letting go puzzle is acceptance – acceptance of the condition or situation just as it is.

We do this with our addiction – we accept we’re powerless over it. It’s in that bottom line acceptance that change can and will happen – although we can’t accept whatever it is just so it will change, the acceptance has to be deeper.

Acceptance at that level apparently works on anything. In fact I’ve come to believe that if whatever problem is still around and bothering me, I haven’t accepted it completely.

Do you find yourself focusing more on a problem than it’s solution? Try some acceptance and letting go. Are you telling the story of how someone wronged you over and over again? Stop telling the story and work on accepting the situation just as it is.

Of course it’s easier to talk about acceptance than actually do it. And telling the story of what went wrong or how someone treated us poorly is so tempting. But it doesn’t change the situation and it probably doesn’t make us look good in spite of the sympathy we may get. It does take daring and practice in the beginning, I think because we somehow believe we can force a change on someone else or by telling the tale over and over again.

If, however, you honestly think back I suspect you’ll find lack of acceptance and telling the story didn’t help you change. Acceptance followed by letting go and letting God is what helps.

Take a deep breath, and try it. Then let us know how it works.

What’s your favorite method of letting go?

If you like this post share it with your network – it helps! And thanks!


Cathy Miller May 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Ah, thank you of reminding me about the Serenity prayer, Anne. It always struck a chord with me. Now I use my energy meter. I ask myself, Is this worth the energy? The older I get, the more often the answer is No. 🙂

annew May 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Yes, I become more discerning too 😉

Luana Spinetti | May 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

Telling a friend about how someone or some situation wronged you can be relieving… the first time. But not over and over again. Unless I need to hear more than one voice to make sure I’m gonna take the right decision. Venting, to me, is not just letting go, but seeking a solution together with another person whom I trust.

After all the doable has been done, though, it’s time to let go, and to entrust all the remaining pain in God’s hands. For there’s nothing more I can humanly do.

Love that Serenity Prayer. 🙂

~ Luana
Luana Spinetti | recently posted..Freelance Writing – How I Got Myself Started (And How You Can Do It, Too)My Profile

annew May 12, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thanks, Luana… I love the serenity prayer too.

Luana Spinetti | May 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Thanks to YOU for this beautiful post, Anne. 🙂

{I’m trying to reconnect after I’ve been feeling down again for a while. *hug*·}
Luana Spinetti | recently posted..Freelance Writing – How I Got Myself Started (And How You Can Do It, Too)My Profile

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