The Hazards of ‘Getting in the Game’

“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.

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.

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?


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

Getting Gratitude

I have not been able to get Anna Kerr's comment that “we are desperate and depressed because our society encourages us to be dissatisfied” off my mind.

It was a reminder that we need to not only look up and ahead, but down and back, and that as we dare and dream, and then ‘get', if we aren't grateful for ‘what we get', we'll still be desperate and depressed.

With a nod and big thank you to Anna, here's a list of things (and their respective categories) that I am grateful for:

1) God's grace — God's grace is something we don't deserve, but are given anyway, unfettered and unconditionally. For me, it is the fall foliage in New England. It is glorious to behold.

What providential gift, or gift of grace, are you grateful for?

2) Gift of another's self — This is a gift that comes when people play to their strengths and give us something we very much need or want, but can't give to ourselves. Because it is generously given, it is systergy at its purest, but certainly not the exclusive domain of women, as my friend Aaron demonstrated this past week.

LaNola Kathleen Stone is a superb example of this ‘gift of self'. Kathleen has taken our family's Christmas pictures since Miranda was a baby. Because she is willing to play to her specific strengths and intelligences, every year Kathleen sees magnificence in my children that I certainly couldn't, and dare I say, few photographers could, as seen below.


What gift of another's self are you grateful for?

3) What I'm good at — This will likely be the hardest one to come up with as it requires us to do precisely what Anna Fels' research and the Bem Sex Role Inventory indicate that feminine women don't do — pull attention toward ourselves. Even after months of ‘soapboxing' about this, I would have readily deflected had my friends Brooke and Stacey not gently encouraged me to stiffen my spine. And so…. I'm grateful that I am good at coming up with an idea or vision for a project AND that I can then execute against my vision; take Know Your Neighbor, for instance.

What are you grateful to be good at? What are your strengths? Is there a way that your ‘good at' can be given as a gift of your self?

4) Simple pleasures — This is something that makes us happy. Period. Like listening to Earth, Wind and Fire's Can't Hide Love. I loved this song as a 16 year-old. And I still love it. Every time I hear that magnificent horn introduction on my iPod, I am happy. A simple pleasure.

What simple pleasure are you grateful for?

P.S. Just this morning there was a terrific article in the NY Times titled Let us give thanks. In writing., and includes a quote from Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project.

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