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The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them
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The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  425 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Why is it that despite our best efforts, many of us remain fundamentally unhappy and unfulfilled in our lives? In this provocative and inspiring book, David Richo distills thirty years of experience as a therapist to explain the underlying roots of unhappiness—and the surprising secret to finding freedom and fulfillment.

There are certain facts of life that we cannot chang
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by Shambhala (first published January 11th 2005)
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There's parts of this book that I think everyone should read, there's parts of this book that bored me to death, and there's parts of this book that I quite passionately disagreed with, but I always think with books like this that if someone can make you think of things in a different way, even if you end up not in agreement, it's still something which was worthwhile. So for me, the first half of the book was just fabulous, several concepts, which while not necessarily new, were written in such ...more
This book is seriously one of, if not, the best self-help book i've ever read. Not that i've read much, but after reading this, I feel no need to read any more. It's basically a trip to the psychologist in a book. David Richo explains the five things we cannot change in life, or "givens", and the things we gain by embracing them. Ultimately wisdom, understanding, loving-kindness and happiness. All throughout reading this book, I realized that most of what we read in self-help books, are the very ...more
Audrey ❦❦❦
1. Everything changes and ends.
2. Things do not always go according to plan.
3. Life is not always fair.
4. Pain is a part of life.
5. People are not loving and loyal all the time.

The point of this book is to accept and move forward, not to resist and deny. There is a life lesson for us all here.
boy, if i could just memorize this and access it when i run into difficulties, i'd be ahead of the game!
This was a great companion book to How to be an Adult in Relationships. It took what might have been some really negative truths about life and talked about how to turn them around and understand our actions and behaviour through their filters. Life is not a painless journey - let's face it. Life is suffering. But all our suffering is an opportunity for learning and behaving in a way that is respectful and caring to ourselves and to others. If we have committed to the Noble Path we can understan ...more
Daisy Rose
This book had exactly what I was looking for in it...he is like the answer to Eckhart Tolle. Unlike Eckhart Tolle who urges people to forget, forget, forget, because everything is in the past, and tells us we should live in THIS MOMENT (which is true and excellent advice sometimes), Richo urges us to acknowledge and "stay with" what has happened - good or bad - and deal with it appropriately. His description of how to be with, and stay with, your own emotions/thoughts/experiences, as a way to he ...more
i got more out of the first half of the book than the last. Maybe it needs to be shorter. Has some staements within its pages that are great!
Really found this helpful. One has to say "yes" to life and live without fear.

There are certain facts of life that we cannot change—the unavoidable "givens" of human existence: (1) everything changes and ends, (2) things do not always go according to plan, (3) life is not always fair, (4) pain is a part of life, and (5) people are not loving and loyal all the time. Richo shows us that by dropping our deep-seated resistance to these givens, we can find liberation and discover the true richness t
For parents who have an ED-child I've found few too many words that can comfort and instill some deeper understandings than Richo's work-- even though it's non-ED related.

I go back often to his books/words, as he has done with reinstating basic principles of Buddhist thought/practices.

A nice reminder are Richo's "five unavoidable givens-facts that come visit us all" when you may be having a bad day or looking for blame, or feeling vunerable, etc.:

1. Everything changes and ends.

2. Things do not a
Brian Bairstow
A powerful mentally and personally challenging. Truly enables the reader to review themselves and better their lives overall.

Terrence Willis
I read this wonderful piece of Art 8 years ago when I decided to start my Journey " Life Preservation".. Changed my life
This book is simply too good to be true. I spent about 3 hours yesterday just copying paragraphs after paragraphs onto my journal..
His language isn't accessible to everyone but would be if you are familiar with concepts in mindfulness and existentialism.
This has become my new 'bible' and David Richo has risen above Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield as my favourite spiritual teacher :)
Best gift for myself for the upcoming year.

He is also the author for "How to be an adult", it probably takes one hu
Noah Rasheta
Great advice that everyone could benefit from.
I've been looking through this book with my boyfriend for the past 9 months and we keep coming across things that resound for our lives. I'm not into "self-help" kinds of books, but this one is for everyone who bangs their heads about how "other people" are. Richo tells it like it is and sometimes you don't want to hear it, but you have to admit that he's pretty much right on most of the time. "Not everyone is loving or loyal"! if we could just accept that and not get stuck in the mola ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Wendy added it
Everyone should read it.
I'd read this book before after Richo's other title (How To Be An Adult In Relationships) had been a real catalyst for change for me. I thought now was a good time to revisit this one, and while I got kind of stuck and bored in the middle of it, the nuggets of wisdom are the still as important. What are the five things we cannot change?
1. Everything changes and ends.
2. Things do not always go according to plan.
3. Life is not always fair.
4. Pain is a part of life.
5. People are not loving and loya
Anna Cordova
Powerful read. I think this is one book I will return to again and again. Compassionately embracing what we cannot change paves the way to freedom.
Ally Hunter
I am not a big fan of self-help books but this one appealed to me. It was given to me by someone whose opinion I value, so I gave it a chance. I am glad I did. Life sucks people! Time to embrace it and be happy anyway! Just kidding, sort of....this book lays out the truth about the human condition. But, there is hope. I like the author's approach which is a touch of psychology, eastern thought, and spirituality all in the right combination at the right time. I also like all of the quotes from li ...more
It started good, the introduction. However, I am not making it much past that. I tried, I gave it a go... but it's not fun reading. It's not interesting. I feel like I'm reading "blah blah blah" over & over again.
I've read self-help books before and there are many great ones out there. I like reading ones that go somewhere, tell you a story, and don't bore you with facts and gibberish.
I cannot read this which sucks because I was very excited about it and it came highly recommended...
Anita Zinn
Read 4-11-12

WHOW! Packed full of enlightenment - making a lasting impression on the mind - that is a gift from the author to us!

I must say a sincere, "Thank you," to David Richo.

Quote: " When we give up seeking the safety of control, order, and infallible rules, we find our bodily creativity, and then, once again, an axis of little ego and big mind, an incarnation happens. We become the word of life pronounced in poetry and sculptured in light."
Kathy Beatty
Jun 01, 2008 Kathy Beatty rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wishing to live in the moment
Recommended to Kathy by: Shambhala Sun
My highlighter is running out of color! Every page is a revelation: "I take care of myself, but not at the expense of others. I put others first, but not at the expense of myself." "Every beginning leads to a finale. Changes & endings are inevitable. Nothing is perfect, permanently satisfying, or permanently anything." "Facing the bluntness of reality (in all its beauty & agony) is the highest form of happiness." I am savoring every line.
Probably the book that has had the greatest positive impact on my life. Learning to live life on life's terms, because those are the only terms we're gonna get! Down to earth, plain speaking and compassionate. I recommend this book to everyone who is searching for their path and especially anyone in recovery who is struggling with step 3. But you don't need to be in recovery to enjoy and be enriched by this book. It is truly a gem.
Jul 24, 2010 Amber rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Quite a serendipitous time to be reading a book such as this. I think my brain absorbed most of it, but will probably go back and read it again with a highlighter. There are too many gems of wisdom to ponder or to coherently put into a book review. Needless to say, I am profoundly grateful for these gems of wisdom that I find along the path of life. I gratefully put them in my pocket and proceed onward.
I'm definitely turning into a David Richo fan.
This will probably be on my 'currently reading' shelf for months. Not because I have put off reading it, but because I can't stop REreading it. The language is simple and kind, but the subject so vast and deep that every time I pick up this book a new sentence and idea pops out to me. What he is suggesting is a practice of a lifetime.
I had to return this book to the library before I finished it bc someone else had requested it. I thought it was very good and am considering buying a copy so I can re-read it. A helpful and thoughtful discussion of how we create pain by trying to grasp or control things and people, from a neo-buddhist perspective.
I've read two of Richo's other books which I liked. This is an excellent discussion of the givens, and a very good setup to introduce Tonglen meditation. I was taught Tonglen during a series of teachings with a buddhist master on the Eight Verses for Training the Mind. I found this practice very beneficial.
This book really affected the perspective I was taking on life and my relationships with select others. It makes me a lot more hopeful and I feel more inspired to try and be loving instead of vindictive. I can be a grudge-holder so this book really made me look at things in another way. I love the author.
Not a sentence wasted, this book address the expectations we put on our lives and also onto other people which eventually leads to our own unhappiness. By embracing what is, we find that we have already possess everything we need to be happy.
This book is probably best read slowly, a few pages at a time...
The title made me assume it was of the self-help variety (which I never reach for), but I was relieved to find that I would shelf this book somewhere under psychology. The author adopts a buddhist philosophy and applies it to psychology, and I found his approach to be very helpful and insightful.
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David Richo, PhD, is a therapist and author who leads popular workshops on personal and spiritual growth.

He received his BA in psychology from Saint John's Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, in 1962, his MA in counseling psychology from Fairfield University in 1969, and his PhD in clinical psychology from Sierra University in 1984. Since 1976, Richo has been a licensed marriage, family, and chi
More about David Richo...
How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving How to Be an Adult: A Handbook for Psychological and Spiritual Integration When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships Shadow Dance: Liberating the Power & Creativity of Your Dark Side The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know

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“Humility means accepting reality with no attempt to outsmart it.” 126 likes
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