Serenity: The Core Idea Behind The WATER Method

“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. ”

–Reinhold Niebuhr

This famous AA prayer is what inspired me to write about the WATER Method. The idea that we have difficulty knowing the difference between what we can and can’t control drove me to seeking out the answer to this question: How do we know what the difference is? Reinhold is asking God for this wisdom, yet are we willing to hear what that wisdom is? Even if we knew the difference, would that change our behavior?

This reminds me of a scene in The Matrix: Revolutions ( I know, I’ve been going a little crazy with the Matrix lately on Twitter, simply because I’ve been playing Matrix:Path of Neo on the PS2 – my “self care” as we call it in the counseling business).  Neo talks to the Oracle about everything he learned about his role so far. He asks her why she never told him some things, and she responded that he wasn’t ready. He then asks, “Who said I wasn’t ready?”

She replied “You know who.” and pointed to the sign on the doorway that says  “Know Thyself” in Latin.

It may be that you are ready to hear what you need to do to change, but you may not be ready to actually make the change. Think about your patterns of thought and behavior. Every single day you make choices without even thinking about them.  What would happen if you started thinking about the choices you made, and how your thinking is connected to how you feel, what you do and what you say?

That is the idea behind the WATER Method. It is designed to help you understand what is in your control and what isn’t, and then take action on what is in your control. You can benefit from this whether you’re managing stress, trying to reduce your anger or attempting to set boundaries with others.

Its basically a way of looking at life in a way that gets you moving right now, rather than hoping that someday you’ll make the changes you need to improve your life. In the next few posts I’ll be getting in depth about how our lives are affected by our words, actions, thoughts, emotions and results. Its a preview of the book I’m writing, so I would love to hear your feedback about this.

Are you ready to take action on what you know you need to change? Comments welcome!