Words of Support and Encouragement Week of March 1, 2010


The following quote is a wonderful source of strength.  It can easily be directed towards whatever being you see as your source of strength whether it is, God, the universe, or the self – it still works!

“…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

Grief is a physical, emotional, and spiritual response to a traumatic event resulting in loss.  Often those grieving will wrongfully hold themselves accountable for the traumatic event.  They will frequently blame themselves for circumstances beyond their control, as a means to justify the instance of loss – ‘there just has to be a reason’.  What does this misplaced responsibility do?  It shifts the emotional response away from a less ambiguous mourning of an unexpected event, to tangible feelings of guilt over wrongfully assumed responsibility.  This establishes a focal point for energy, and emotion.  However, accepting blame for a situation one had zero control over only masks the true, and healthy process of grieving.  It minimizes pain by masking it with regret.  In order to move through grief, it is essential to only take on responsibility for the event where it is appropriate.
…accept the things I cannot change…
You had no control over the event.  This loss is not your fault, and it isn’t a result of something you chose to do or not do.  You would never intentionally place yourself in this amount of pain.  You could not anticipate this, and you cannot change this.
…courage to change the things I can…

You have control over your emotions.  While it may feel as though they are wild and unpredictable, the mind is amazing, and fluid.  You can change the course of what you are experiencing emotionally; it just takes practice and patience.
…and wisdom to know the difference…

The most challenging of the three; how can you discern between what you can and cannot change?  Walk yourself through the logic each time.  In the case of miscarriage the internal conversation may go something like this:  I suffered a miscarriage.  For some reason my body decided it was not the proper time or situation.  I did not want this to happen, I did not wish it to happen.  There is nothing I did that caused the miscarriage, I was actively supporting the pregnancy.  This is due to nature and biology.  It is not my fault.

2 replies
  1. Eileen Flanagan
    Eileen Flanagan says:

    Thanks for this. I believe the Serenity Prayer can be helpful in so many situations, including miscarriage and infertility. I hope your perspective brings comfort to many people.
    Eileen Flanagan, author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make a Change–and When to Let Go.

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