What is serenity anyway? People talk about it, and those in recovery swear by the serenity prayer. Some people even recite this prayer in 12-step meetings. Some say it to quietly to themselves all day long. Serenity is associated with addiction recovery, but it is a state to which everyone should aspire. Here’s why.
What Is Serenity
Serenity is the state of being calm and tranquil no matter what goes down in your life. It's the very opposite of fear, dread, anguish, anxiety. People dealing with addiction (either their own, or someone else’s) often feel the stress is killing them. There are many situations and illnesses that bring on the same kinds of helpless feelings. Serenity can be a direct path to happiness.
The Serenity Prayer
God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Here’s How The Serenity Prayer Inspires Change
Accepting the reality and not your magic thinking that everything is all right is the first step to healing. Once you understand the reality that you are not in control (of other people and what they think, or illness or job security or whatever worries you) you have left denial behind. Now you can take care of yourself.
It takes real courage to turn away from thinking and behaviors that aren’t working to make things better. It is especially hard to try a new approach to your life if loved ones are involved and don’t want things to change. Bravery isn’t a given, it has to be developed. Courage to change is often the next step after acceptance.
It’s virtually impossible to make wise choices when you are in a state of fear and crisis. Imagine the struggle of an animal caught in a trap. When you stop struggling, you can begin to think about solutions. Wisdom comes from calm reflection.
4. Positive Thinking
Positive thinking when you’re in denial is not part of serenity. It just pushes the truth under the rug. Positive thinking that revolves around what is good in your life and where you want your life to be going helps make that a reality.
When you no longer feel that you are responsible for someone else’s outcome, you are empowered to act independently and be yourself. Serenity is the tool to help you grow into the best self you can be.
Some people worry that the God mentioned in the serenity prayer means religion is involved, and even that one religion may try to take the place of your own beliefs. Whose god is the one in the prayer anyway? People who don’t believe in God worry about the word itself. The faith generated by a state of serenity can be thought of more like the confidence, trust, reliance, conviction you need to get through your tough times. Faith is your internal angel that cheers you on.
7. Letting Go
Letting go means so many things. You can let go of the need to control, the responsibility to fix, the pressure always to be helping out. Letting go can also mean backing off of unhealthy relationships and releasing feelings of fear and anxiety and dread. When you have let go of whatever holds you back, you are in a place of serenity. That is something you can hold onto for a truly happy life.
If you need help with addiction or mental health, check out Recovery Guidance for a safe and free resource to find professionals near you.