I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and make a change. ~Michael Jackson
I like to be able to fix things. I think most of us, especially as parents, just want to be able to fix anything that may be amiss. I feel fortunate right now in that my own life, and family, is currently in its groove (and that of course, is not always the case) But as I look around me - at the friend that's going through a difficult time with a child, another with a spouse, countless more with their families, their jobs, their lives - that instinct is still there, even from the outside: Okay, how do I fix this? What can I do?
And the answer, of course, is that I can't fix everything. And more often than not, there is nothing that really can be done, at least not externally.
I can't change other people. Not my husband, not my kids, not my friends, not the people I meet on the street. But I can change myself.
I can't change what others say, how they feel, or what they do. But I can decide how I respond. I can choose how it does or does not affect me.
I can't change the fact that sometimes there will be bad days, and that sometimes there will be very bad days. But I can control how I handle it. I can control whether it breaks me or makes me stronger.
I can't change all the injustices in the world. I can't change the hate, the prejudice, the mean people. But I can change my heart. I can examine my attitudes. I can choose how I treat others. I can choose to be kind, to be loving, to be generous.
I can't change the necessity of things like laundry, or dishes, or car repairs. But I can change the spirit with which I deal with them. I can choose to do them joyfully, or begrudgingly.
I can't change the bumps, the growing pains, or the inevitable detours that come my or my family's way. But I can take responsibility for my feelings, for my actions, for my words. I can decide that instead of blaming everything and everyone around me, I can practice grace, humility, and patience. I can decide to be thankful, even in the midst of chaos, and I can decide to accept what is.... to have "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
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