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Becometh as a Child: Chapter 4 Clinical Insights
by John Waterbury
Mar 28, 2011 | 4460 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Reflections on the Serenity Prayer

Simple, direct, and effective, the anonymously authored Serenity Prayer is a good foundation for peace of mind and a more balanced perspective. When understood and personalized, it applies to everyone. Yet, it means something different to each of us.

Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm. It's the result of a change in perception that occurs in spite of ourselves. Without this state of mind, we tend to get high strung. When we're high strung, we're usually out of tune with reality.

Courage is the quality from which heroes are made. There are heroes all around us. They include those who endure when they want to quit, those who overcome challenges in the face of fear, and those who choose to grow in spite of their pain. Courage is doing what must be done. It's taking a stand for what's right, especially when there's pressure to do otherwise. Courage is backbone, not wishbone.

Wisdom-true wisdom-is not knowing all. It's knowing what to do with what you know. It's being aware of your strengths and knowing the limitations of your knowledge. Wisdom may be recognized through the application of two very important principles-"Don't sweat the small stuff," and remember, "It's all small stuff."3

The combination of serenity, courage, and wisdom can bring about impressive changes in life. These attributes develop at different times in response to various crises or mistakes from which lessons were learned.

When the situations are right, and we rise to a level where our perception becomes more accurate, the synergism that results from that combination adds a new dimension to life. Our vision becomes forever altered. So look to the future. The best is yet to come!

Trusting Yourself

In life we are either a light or a shadow, a guide who assists others in discovering the path or merely a part of the confusion and darkness. Becoming is a developmental process that often stops and starts and changes direction numerous times.

As a result of this process, we develop a variety of gifts that we take with us throughout life. While some people seem to have more of these gifts than others, it appears that the specific gifts we have enable us to touch the lives of those around us in a manner that is unique and incomparable.

Undoubtedly, these gifts are not just for our own use because they unify and strengthen everyone who is touched by them. Sometimes we hesitate to use them. Sometimes we simply don't trust ourselves to do so.

Life provides a wealth of experience, and experience is a power that guides and directs our destinies. Experience teaches that we have always managed to survive everything that has happened to us in the past, in one way or another, and it gives us confidence that we will be able to survive in the future. To do so requires that we must learn to trust ourselves. Unless we trust ourselves, it's virtually impossible to trust anyone else. Yet, trusting yourself goes far beyond that simple concept.

Trusting yourself means first trusting in God and his infinite power to bless you. It means prayerfully seeking his guidance and striving to do his will.

Trusting yourself means accepting the present moment for what it is, even though you don't know for certain what may happen in the future.

Trusting yourself means allowing others to say what they may say, without feeling that you have to decipher all the hidden messages behind what they say.

Trusting yourself means accepting yourself for what you really are and having the confidence to believe that what you really are is what you will become. Your real worth is something that far exceeds even your wildest imagination.

Trusting yourself means accepting the fact that happiness is not an illusion nor is it elusive or beyond your reach. Happiness is a natural by-product of trusting yourself.

Trusting yourself means setting limits with yourself, setting boundaries with others, and setting realistic expectations both for yourself and others.

Trusting yourself means making mistakes, learning from them, and rising above them. Mistakes are not signs of inadequacy or failure, but are a natural part of living and learning.

Trusting yourself is an essential preparatory step to managing the trials and tribulations in life. Without this trust there would be hesitancy, discouragement, and ultimately a lesser degree of happiness.

Trusting yourself means allowing yourself to be alone without fearing that you'll be lonely forever and allowing yourself to be involved with others without fearing that you'll lose yourself in the relationship.

Trusting yourself makes it possible to trust others, and that makes it possible to love them. In essence, trusting yourself means having the courage to outgrow your previous self.

Trusting yourself means not waiting for an invitation to participate in life. All too frequently, we allow the reactions of others to determine the choices we make. While this provides a type of comfort and predictability, it impairs our ability to take charge of life. Once this pattern becomes deeply embedded, it becomes difficult to break. That which becomes familiar becomes normal, even if normal is painful and limiting.

Trusting yourself means developing an attitude of gratitude. This makes it possible to appreciate both positive and painful experiences in life, to benefit from the lessons they teach, and to grow from the maturity and insight they leave behind. Specifically, it's not happiness that makes us grateful, but it's an attitude of gratitude that makes us happy.

Trusting yourself means recognizing that you are a part of everyone and everything. You're not separate. You're never alone. It is fear that makes you think you are alone.

Trusting yourself means accepting the fact that while life comes with uncertainty and anxiety it also comes with the tools and techniques to manage those trials and rise above them.

Trusting yourself does not mean having a fortress that protects you from all unfortunate events, but rather a stronghold that provides freedom and peace of mind to help you face problems and difficulties with confidence and equanimity.

Trusting yourself means allowing yourself to dream, to rise above your limitations, to visualize who you are becoming, and to take an active part in the creation of that person.

Trusting yourself means knowing the difference between the inner child and the adult. Both are significant parts of who you are. When you feel the inner child part of you (with all the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness), when old memories try to convince you that you're not big enough or strong enough, and when fear tries to overwhelm you and tell you that something terrible is about to happen, remember-you're a grown-up now.

Finally, continue to remind yourself that trusting yourself means forgiving yourself, forgiving those who failed to appreciate you in the past, and forgiving those who fail to recognize who you are now. Forgiving others doesn't let them off the hook. It allows you to move on with your life in spite of them. Trusting yourself means forgiveness, and forgiveness means freedom!

Notes

1. Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 130.

2. Peterson, "Stones in the Wall," 2.

3. Carlson, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It's All Small Stuff.

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