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May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Intention versus Expectation (Demand)

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.
- Reinhold Niebuhr

There is an important distinction between the intentions we hold for our inspired future, and the demands (expectations) we tend to place on ordinary life.

We need to create a balance between accepting what life hands us, and working diligently to create the best life we can. We shouldn't want to live life as "a log floating down the river," but we can't be happy if we always fight against the currents of life either.

My own guideline for balancing action with acceptance, is that in living today and in designing my future, I choose action. I approach life from the point of view that there is nothing that I can't accomplish. However, with regard to the past, I believe that graceful unconditional acceptance is the only path to happiness. As William Shakespeare says, "What's done is done."

I believe that the Serenity Prayer says the same thing, but I place particular emphasis on the point that everything in the past falls into the category of things we can only accept.

My article The Paradox Of Living In The Moment - How To Be Happy Today And Prepare For Tomorrow attempts to address the paradox of taking charge of our future while accepting our past.

Play to win, but be a good loser.
Have a plan for your life,
but accept whatever comes your way with grace and gratitude.

- jlh

Light and Joy...
Jonathan

Further reading: The Serenity Prayer - God grant me the serenity...

don Miguel Ruiz: Always do your best

Vince Lombardi quote: Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is

Today is the bridge between acceptance and faith

3 comments:

  1. 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.
    - Reinhold Niebuhr

    I've actually got this prayer in my study room (on the wall) but I never knew who it was originally from till now. It is such a beautiful prayer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Trust the past to the mercy of God.
    the present to His love
    and the future to His providence.
    ~ St. Augustine~

    ReplyDelete

  3. Human being are born with empathy and to beloved or care​.​ It produce miracles when two souls share themselves on the same frequency of understandings. One sided love is bounds to end up in one side legends without leaving a shadows of unhappiness.


    ReplyDelete

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