The Serenity Prayer, Self-Acceptance & Self-Care, and Discernment

Serenity Prayer.

DISCERNMENT.  (Noun.)  A core component of wisdom.  The ability to make fine yet profound/crucial distinctions; the ability to see (comprehend) more clearly what is unclear and obscure.

The Serenity Prayer (as it applies to ourselves)

God, grant me the courage to change (mature; grow out of) the things about myself that I can and ought to change,

The serenity (inner peace; peace of mind) to accept the things about myself that I cannot change,

And wisdom to know the difference.


God, also, grant me the courage to face myself and to see myself more impartially and realistically (this goes hand in hand with taking a searching and fearless [see the next addendum] moral inventory: A person can’t take a very searching and fearless moral inventory if he or she is unable/unwilling to look at oneself impartially and objectively; and a person won’t see oneself very impartially if one isn’t willing to look at oneself morally, and especially hold oneself up to the standards that one holds others up to).

Grant me the serenity to accept how awkward and ashamed I might feel at times when I do this (as well as the courage to actually feel these types of feelings and not shut down inside or run from them).

Also grant me the serenity to accept the difficulty inherent in changing those things about myself that I likely most need to face and to change.


When we take people, including ourselves, merely as we are, we make them worse; when we treat people as if they were what they should be, we improve them as far as they can be improved.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship,” Book VIII, Chapter IV, p. 295.


When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. — 1 Corinthians 13:11


There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that is your own self.” – Aldous Huxley


Love (self-care & self-parenting) means learning to look at oneself the way one looks at distant things; for you are only one thing among many.  And whoever sees that way heals his heart, without knowing it, from various ills. — Czeslaw Milosz, from his poemLove


Faced with the choice between changing oneself and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. (riffing off something John Kenneth Galbraith wrote)


“Someday, somewhere—anywhere, unfailingly, you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.” — Pablo Neruda


About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in Conscience, Courage, Critical Thinking, Czeslaw Milosz, Denial, Differentiation, Difficulty, Goethe, John Kenneth Galbraith, Love, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Growth, Perspective, Self-Love, Spiritual Growth, The Examined Life, Waking Up, What is Love? and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments (feel free to speak your mind and even to disagree!)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s