“…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”
It’s getting close to one of my favorite times of the year–the start of baseball season. In order to get ready for the upcoming season, it’s important to have a historical perspective. As a die hard New York Yankee fan, I am going to commit a blasphemous act–I am going to discuss a legendary Boston Red Sox player. Manny Ramirez was their left fielder for 8 years, and was probably one of the Sox’ most popular player. He had a knack of saying the wrong things at the wrong time, losing track of the game, and generally being on his own planet. Redsox fans described this as Manny being Manny.This video describes many of these Manny being Manny moments:
Wikipedia finishes our Manny Ramirez story:
In 2009 he was suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy by taking human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a women’s fertility drug.According to steroid dealer Victor Conte, hCG is often used to restart natural testosterone production after a steroid cycle.In the spring of 2011, Ramirez was informed by MLB of another violation to its drug policy, which could result in a 100-game suspension. He chose to retire on April 8 rather than face a 100-game suspension.
You would expect nothing different from Manny since he was a person who played by his own rules. Although an exciting and charismatic player, Manny was always being Manny.
In our daily lives, we are unlikely to find a Manny Ramirez. We will however find people who are difficult to deal with. When we encounter these people, we can choose to either get upset or accept them. Let’s look at these three vignettes, and answer the question that follows:
Paul Maxwell is a 60 year old man who happens to be your father. Paul has an interesting character trait. He likes to flirt, and make advances on all of your friends. (These women are in their 20’s) One of them has described his behavioral eloquently as being “PaulMaxwelled”. When Paul Maxwell is your dad you have several choices:
A) Arrange a hit on his life (not a great idea)
B) Kill him yourself(a worse idea)
C) Become terribly depressed, anxious, ashamed, with no self-esteem and feel further victimized by Paul Maxwell
D) Accept that Paul Maxwell is being Paul Maxwell and get therapy for yourself in order to feel better
Jenny Malone is your new boss. Jenny is the company hotshot brought in from another state. She is replacing your best friend who has left the company. As a employee of the company for the past 10 years, you have given them your blood, sweat and tears. Jenny decides to change all the things in the department that have worked for the 10 years that you’ve been there. After massive frustration in dealing with Jenny you decide to:
A) Punch her in the face(not a great idea)
B) March into the Vice-President’s office, shouting expletives, and describing in full detail her late hour escapades with other employees of the company(not a great idea)
C) Leave the best job that you’ve had with the awareness that you will never get a job this good again
D) Accept that Jenny Malone is being Jenny Malone and get therapy for yourself in order to feel better
Vignette Number 3
Bobby and Janey Duncun have been married for 5 years. They have a child, Bobby, Jr who is 6years old. Bobby Sr. drinks every day. Sometimes while drunk, he has gotten angry with Janey and called her choice words . Janey has tried to get Bobby to stop drinking. She’s thrown out the alcohol, yelled and screamed at him for drinking, negotiated deals with him so that he wouldn’t drink. She is angry and frustrated and feels unloved. At this point Janey’s best strategy is to:
a) Continue to nag, scold, beg, cajole, scream in order to get him to stop drinking
b) Have an affair with very interested neighbor Billy Washington down the street
c) Take little Bobby and move back home with her alcoholic parents
d) Accept that Bobby is being Bobby(while getting therapy and attending Alanon)
The obvious answers to our quiz is “D” in all of these situations. The thing we learn from all of this is that Manny Ramirez, Paul Maxwell, Jenny Malone and Bobby Duncun are starring as themselves– They do what they do in ALL situations. Manny is just being Manny, Paul is just being Paul, Jenny is just being Jenny, and Bobby is being Bobby.
When we encounter these people our best option is to ACCEPT them and their behavior. In order to do that we need something that will help us–the serenity prayer:
If we ACCEPT what we cannot change, which are all other people’s behavior, and change the things we can, which is our reactions to them, then we can have serenity. 3 sentences can give us all the change we need. Use them regularly and you will feel better.
Remember change is possible.