Family Members Forum: The Serenity Prayer

  • I'm dealing with a hard time with the help of the Serenity Prayer: to have the courage to change the things I can, to accept what I can't change, and the wisdom to know the difference. 


    Acting with grace when life is hard for ourselves or our loved ones can be a bona-fide coping skill.  The sooner we recognize and understand that not everything can be changed, the better off we'll be, even if this acceptance doesn't come easy.


    One way to overcome our physical stress and emotions surrounding what's going in is to "power-list" the good things about our loved ones to counter each negative.

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    Remember: there's a person inside who is experiencing that struggle and they have thoughts and feelings about what's happening to them too.  Refrain from telling people "My son's a schizophrenic" and halt thinking this to yourself.


    Get out a pen and a notebook, and write down all the good things about your loved one.  Writes as many things as you can and keep on writing. Changing your perception, even if you can't change the situation, could improve your own mood and lift the heaviness from your chest.


    What comes to my mind is the day my loved one helped move a couch from my third-floor walk-up apartment, down two flights of stairs, to the curb for sanitation pick-up shortly before I moved out.


    It might not be easy, yet this involves stepping outside of your own feelings and placing yourself in your loved one's shoes.  Try to understand why they might be acting like they do.  See the world from their eyes and have empathy for them.  Always have compassion.


    As hard as it is to believe, your loved one might be doing their best at this moment in time.  I'm fond of telling people this: You can accept that today is what it is, at the same time you can accept that tomorrow can be different, can be better.


    The support guideline is that we expect a better tomorrow in a realistic way. 


    Loved ones who've hit a plateau can indeed go on to change their lives.  This in-between place is called the woodshed, and anyone can improve no matter how much time it takes them to do so.  Woodshedding is a term borrowed from the jazz world, where musicians would practice their piece alone so that they could perfect it before playing out in public.


    I know the pain of seeing a loved one in hell.  If I could, I would take away this person's pain.  So I'll end here by telling readers to stay involved in your loved one's life; always be hopeful; do whatever you can that you're able to and remember the Serenity Prayer for the times you can't do anything.


    Keep fit by taking care of your own mental health and physical wellbeing.  To have a strong mind and body helps you weather your loved one's storm.


Published On: November 16, 2014