The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.
-- Albert Ellis, grandfather of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The Importance of Letting Go of What We Can’t Change
By Therese Borchard
Published Oct 22, 2014
I met with a new doctor yesterday. I’ve been interviewing them like babysitters lately.
He passed my test. More or less. I don’t want to get my hopes up and start believing that doctors have magical powers...
He is a holistic MD with a license in internal medicine, which means he will prescribe for me the Nature-Thyroid medicine that makes me think more clearly and gives me more energy, but that conventional doctors dismiss as mashed-up animal parts that have no data supporting success.
“The Way of Serenity,” is a book about the serenity prayer.
“I need a little help with the first part,” I admit. “Accepting the things I cannot change. I’m much better with the second part — changing the things I can.”
I’m continually working the second leg of the Serenity Prayer. However, acceptance of things we cannot change is difficult,
My first reaction when something proves to be out of my control is to try harder, to force whatever is derailing my health or my agenda to cooperate through more discipline, better habits, a better policy.
As Jonathan Morris writes in “The Way of Serenity,”
“Letting go of things that really do need fixing can feel like injustice, irresponsibility, or indifference on our part.”
I tug and tug and tug, like the passage from “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Second Edition” by Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, and Kelly G. Wilson:
Imagine that the situation you are in is like being in a tug-of-war with a monster.
It is big, ugly, and very strong so you cannot win.
The hardest thing to see is that our job here is not to win the tug-of-war.
Our job is to drop the rope.
I had to let go of control, accept the things I cannot change, like how doctors do their job.
The way he practices medicine is out of my control.
Posted in: Emotional Health
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Therese J. Borchard is the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression and Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Guide.
She is Associate Editor at Psych Central, where she contributes to the award-winning blog, World of Psychology.
She also writes for other media outlets such as The Huffington Post and PBS/This Emotional Life.
For seven years, Therese penned the popular blog, Beyond Blue, on Beliefnet.com and moderated an
online depression support group of over 2,000 people.
The Importance of Letting Go of What We Can't Change