The Hazards of ‘Getting in the Game’

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“Throw down your pom-poms and get in the game.”  A phrase I heard frequently during the late 80's, early 90's while working on Wall Street.

In one of my very first posts, I boldly implored women to throw down our pom-poms, get in the game, our game, and be the hero of our story.

Cheerleader
Photo courtesy of john carleton @ istockphoto

1 1/2 years later, I am astonished that I employed this metaphor.  I knew about being a cheerleader, but as an early days Title IX gal, I've never played competitive sports, and thus had no experience with ‘literally' getting in the game.

Ahh, the bluster of inexperience.

Obviously, I knew that football players wear helmets and pads because it's dangerous, you get bumps, bruises, and broken bones.  But I didn't know.

No doubt I had glorified the ‘getting in the game' of my life whether at home, work or in the community, not recognizing that this would involve saying no and negotiating conflict, none of which my cheerleading had prepared me to do.

I'm learning, but because I'm not good at it, I can feel pretty beaten up some days.

Football_players
Photo courtesy groveb @ istockphoto

As I've nursed my wounds by sharing them with my friends, two of them, both of whom are psychologists by training, said something strikingly similar:

Learning to negotiate conflict is an important developmental milestone, one that ultimately enhances and strengthens our relationships.

Did you know this?

I didn't.

Does this mean that if we throw down our pom-poms, and get in the game, when we pick our pom-poms back up, we'll be even better cheerleaders, better heroes of support?

Isn't this what Psyche did?  She went on a hero's journey, which required her to learn to say no, so that she could say yes to her relationships.

When have you set boundaries recently?  Said no?  Negotiated conflict?

Hard?

For me too.

Helmet and pads required.

Related posts:
Throw Down Your Pom-Poms and Get in the Game
Three Cheers for Oxytocin
Psyche's 4th Task:  Learning to Say No
What I've Learned By Identifying My Heroes

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