Identify, separate, and choose.
It’s one thing that something happened to you.
It’s another thing how you react to it.
It’s 4pm. A friend is late. His phone is dead and you start to worry. Your meeting at the café was due one hour ago. You pay for your coffee and go back home.
At 6pm you get a message from him: „Sry, partied too hard. Slept like a stone. U still at café?”
You get angry because how could he have done that? He’s your best friend. You don’t reply and „punish” him with disregard.
Now let’s identify, separate, and choose.
Identify: What is the situation?
Separate: What can you control? What can you not control?
Choose: How do you react to it?
The situation is: Your best friend didn’t show up.
You cannot change that. No amount of texting, calling or yelling at him over the phone will undo what happened. There’s no time machine that would make him show up on time. And there’s no way for you that could have made him less drunk and sleep less long.
This is neither good nor bad.
Your reaction, however, your choice on how to react reveals what’s good or bad.
Does it help both of you if you ignore him? Who are you punishing with that behavior?
US-American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote:
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.
This became known as the Serenity Prayer. It was adopted and popularized by recovery communities like Alcoholics Anonymous.
If it’s clear to you what parts of the day you can control and what parts you cannot control, you will be happier. And you will have an advantage over other people who run around like a clueless chicken. They’re caught up in trying to win an infinite battle. Well, good luck to them!