The Truth: You are loved. You are Beautiful. You have a purpose.

My Path to a Contented Life

I was raised to believe contentment was a good thing. In fact, a Serenity Prayer plaque hung on the wall right outside the bathroom. I passed it every day and had it memorized at an early age. It goes like this:

“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.”

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

As an adult I bought into the mindset to always be reaching, bettering oneself. It turned out I have a proficiency for striving to be better, to look better, to act better, to appear better. I bought the pretty pillows and wore the right shoes. My book shelves bulged with self-help books. I was determined to be my best self. The effort to keep up with and be better than the “Joneses” was formidable, and costly.

One day I heard the word minimalism and discovered another mindset. Be satisfied with little. Have little. Want little. Spend little. I found a new way to strive to be better. It became a game, a competition with every other minimalist online. No matter how much junk I got rid of, the more useless possessions I found hidden in my house. Another decluttering plan was implemented.  Then my house was too big. I should downsize. My clothes were “fast fashion.” I should buy better. Be more discerning. Spend less. Spend more for less, but better quality. Buy from the right places. Have a smaller footprint. I fell down a spiral of discontentment with my lifestyle choices. I could do better. Be better. The effort to be better by having less was just as overwhelming because I traded comparing myself with one set of “Joneses” with another.

Once again, I’ve turned back to the Serenity Prayer.

American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr’s original words were:

Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

3 Steps to Courage:

  1. Courage -Am I willing to work on what needs changed?
  2. Acceptance -Am I able to accept what I can’t change?
  3. Insight -Am I able to discern the difference between the two?

Today, I’m trying every day to live in the present, cultivate a thankful mindset, correct what needs fixed, and peacefully dwell in the imperfections.

How are you doing with courage, contentment, and wisdom?

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