Understanding the three-way serenity prayer and how it plays out in all relationship can make us less spiteful in the end, more wise even about when to give up on seeking more wisdom. We become more agnostic and less regretful and/or angry about what went wrong, about whether we tried unconscionably hard to change them or not hard enough, about whether they were stubborn narcissists or just on a different path.
That and an appreciation for the fundamental challenges we face in seeking and creating compatibility goes a long way toward gear switching into forgiveness.
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In any frustrating situation we can take it serenely, try to change it courageously or leave it.
Sometimes sustainable serenity just ain’t happening and instead couples enter a period of unpredictable and amplifying oscillation, efforts to achive the serenity to accept, whipsawing with courage to try to change each other.
Lots of couples and couple’s counselors say that a relationship matures when both parties give up on trying to change each other, and with practice, get to where they regain a sobered acceptance of each other as is, that sustains them past the honeymoon period.
Partners just figure out how to tuck in their elbows and make it work. So maybe the order is honeymoon serenity, courage and then back to sustainable post-honeymoon serenity.
Stoicism is made up of conflicting writings, especially around God, determinism vs free will, happiness vs avoidance of pain etc. Today most Stoic fans are practicing a cafeteria approach: picking up the few useful bits, modifying others, discarding the rest.
But it’s important to know that this is what we’re doing. Because to the extent that we’re taking this approach, we’re not practicing Stoicism. We are abandoning it and relying implicitly on different (and often unidentified) philosophic ideas.
When hiring, managers look for hard-to-define or quantify skillsets in employees, like self-discipline, creative problem-solving, empathy, flexibility, rational judgement, and kindness.
And recent research suggests consuming literary fiction develops critical thinking, emotional intelligence and empathy in readers.
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