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The Expanded Serenity Prayer

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God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
— Reinhold Niebuhr

God, grant me the serenity

Serenity means that I no longer recoil from the past, live in jeopardy because of my present behavior, or worry about the unknown futures.  I seek regular times to recreate myself, and I avoid those times that make me vulnerable to despair and to old self-destructive patterns.

To accept the things I cannot change,

Accepting change means that I no longer cause suffering for myself by clinging to that which no longer exists.  All that I can count on is that nothing will be stable – except how I respond to the transforming cycles in my life of birth, growth, and death.

The courage to change the things that I can,

Giving up my attempts to control outcomes does not require that I give up my boundaries or my best efforts.  It does mean my most honest appraisal of the limits of what I can do.

And the wisdom to know the difference

Wisdom becomes the never forgotten recognition of all those times when it seemed there was no way out – and the new paths opened up, like miracles in my life.