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Find Inner Strength Through Relationship Struggles
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
-- Reinhold Niebhur

Although you may know this best as the Serenity Prayer associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, it was originally written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. It can be applied effectively to many aspects of our lives; one of which is in our relationships.

Have you ever used it to help you through relationship struggles? How do you imagine it could help you through?

Consider each line:
Are there problems that you find difficult to accept are out of your control?
Do you need more strength and courage to make certain changes?
Do you sometimes have trouble knowing what you need to accept and what you need to try changing?

Dr. Becker-Phelps's discussions and her responses in those discussions are for general educational purposes only. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.

sunflower1943 responded:
I posted a response but dont see it but hopefully this one will show up.

I find people disappoint me - I try to be friendly, etc - as an example, I went into the physical fitness center to work out as I do almost every day and saw this elderly couple whom I know and whom I worked for and they both go and sit and do their bicycling without even saying hi to me - actually ignored me. I spoke to the wife when I cleaned up my machine but it's weird because they both go into their bicycles side by side and dont even speak to each other.

Anyway, people disappoint me - I probably expect everyone to be friendly and nice.

What also I find hard to accept is the corruption in our government in the White House. I feel it is the worst it ever was and when did honesty go out the window. Maybe I should have been living in the 1920s - but I really don't like what I see in this corrupt country and whole world for that matter.

I can't change the government but what upsets me is our President is making a lot of executive orders per day WITHOUT Congressional approval. Our country wasn't suppose to do this - we have the balance of powers, and this too is upsetting. I can't change it - not one person -

Anyway, you asked about problems that I have a hard time accepting and just told you.

Interesting question - maybe we'll get some more answers from we, the people! Thank you.
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to sunflower1943's response:
Thank you for sharing this. Now the next steps are to walk through the Serenity Prayer and see if the lines in it can give you guidance in how to manage your struggles. Learn to accept what you cannot change. Consider what you can change and find the strength (and ways) to change those things. And, work on developing the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and cannot change. Not easy stuff by a long shot.
love2lol2 responded:
Dr. Becker-Phelps, I do use the Serenity Prayer often. It's funny I just wrote it in an email today.

I accept the fact that I cannot change a person no matter how much I'd like to change 'some' aspects of their personality. I accept that only they can do that and only if they want to badly enough. I accept the fact that only I can make a change to myself and only I can control myself. After all if we were all alike, what a boring meaningless life we would have, right?

I know I can 'influence' a closed mind to become more open to the goodness around them, therefore changing the way they think about themselves and others around them. And the end result is maybe a better person?

I am wise enough to know some people look for a change and therefore are open enough to consider that one joined with another of a like mind will make a difference. Some are leaders others are followers. Some are weak and some are strong. If the strong pick up the weak and the follower seeks out the leader of what they believe, then you have the beginning of a change. I am wise enough to know that if you think you are alone, you will stay alone and nothing changes. I am wise enough to know if you ask, you shall receive. Maybe not immediately but at some point it will happen. I am wise enough to know I cannot make it alone, I need my Friends at the very least. The good and the bad.


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