03 Feb Your A-Game
I’m a big sports fan. I watch sports, listen to sports, talk about sports, and even on occasion, play sports. I was watching my beloved UK Wildcat basketball team the other night and as they were (sadly) losing someone said that they sure did not “bring their A-game”. This is, of course, a reference to whether they played as well as they were capable.
I refer to this sort of stuff in therapy sometimes but more along the lines of “bringing your best self” to situations. A typical topic in which I might say this regards clients who are preparing to begin the always-difficult journey toward divorce. The process of divorce has this ability to bring out the very worst in many people. It reduces some otherwise good, decent, smart, and loving people to stalking, attacking, manipulating, demeaning, and attempting to get even with the person from whom they are divorcing.
Though never divorced myself, I have worked with enough of those that are to understand why they do what they do. The hurt and sense of betrayal can feel very profound when someone you put other things aside for and agreed to spend your life with decides to bail out and even worse, when they already know with whom they are going to land. There is anger, grief, depression, and self-doubt. Many experience a loss of security, loss of direction, massive changes, and on and on.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, consider these two things. First, some of the ideas that you will come up with in times like these are just not as good as they seem. They won’t accomplish what you hope and will bring consequences that can far outweigh any glimmers of satisfaction you might feel. Second, and more importantly, will be what you see when you look back on your season of pain. Will you see that it reduced you to being someone you are not proud of? Will you find that the worst of times brought out the worst of you? Or will you find a measure of pride that you represented your best self and did all you could not to allow a horrible situation to take complete control of you? Just like my Cats, the A-game is not always required when things are going along fine but when the real tests come, the winners are the ones who were able to pull out their best stuff despite what the scoreboard says.