“The Five Things We Cannot Change…and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them” written by David Richo outlines the givens in life and how to live more with an “unconditional yes.” His 5 givens are:
- Everything Changes and Ends
- Things Do Not Always Go According to Plan
- Life is Not Always Fair
- Pain is a Part of Life
- People are not Loving and Loyal All of the Time
Reread that list. Wow. Seems like a glass of cold water was thrown in your face huh? We all know these things and have experienced them but for someone reason they are hard to accept. We want the good experiences to last forever, we like to plan and know what is going to happen next, we want fairness, pain hurts, and we expect people to treat us well. When these things happen, we suffer. We will suffer less when we accept that these conditions are a part of life and happen to everyone. No adult or any person of significant age is immune.Richo spends a chapter on each unpacking them. He then moves into the refuges and gifts from the givens.
“Positive resourceful refuges are relationships, friendships, art, nature, music, creativity, career, entertainment, meditation, and the variety of non-hurtful ways we have of fulfilling our own deepest needs and wishes.”
The last section of the book focuses on the “unconditional yes;” how to become yes, yes to feelings, and a yes to who I am. He does use spiritual references with a heavy emphasis on nature and Buddhism.Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and appreciated the simplicity of the givens of life he outlined as well as how to accept them with the least amount of suffering.
Read this book if:
- You are an adult.
Richo, D. (2008). The five things we cannot change: And the happiness we find by embracing them. Boston: Shambhala.