Strategy 101

I’m not good at strategy games. Chess is so far beyond my ken as to be a game played in a foreign language. I just can’t think that far in the future, can’t begin to anticipate my own moves, much less anyone else’s.

And I have absolutely no desire to manipulate people or situations.

In case it isn’t abundantly clear, I’m talking about how I manage myself in relationships as well. I’m not good at games where each side is premeditating and calculating every move. When I try to anticipate, to do something that will effect a specific result, I invariably fall short.

Yes, I can see a little ahead. I’m not blind to consequences and how what I do now affects what happens later. But I’m not good at strategizing. At planning my moves to achieve a certain outcome. And I don’t necessarily want to be. I mean, I do what I do, I am who I am, and what comes after is a natural extension of that. If we’re in a happy place, I’ll do all the things I can to keep it that way, to make you happy, to keep that happy flow. If we’re in a bad place, I (usually, and usually not intentionally) won’t aggravate it, but I certainly won’t extend myself to…to “earn brownie points”…with you. Especially if I feel there is no effort or reciprocity on your end. In this way, I am very much in the now.

But is that good? Is that healthy?

Sometimes, my innate desire to please, to be pleasing, to be liked, muddles that. And because I am inside of it, I can’t always see if that’s what’s going on. Am I behaving in a healthy, loving way, in a way that is natural to me – not out of a desire to affect some outcome – or am I doing things because I so desperately want your love and approval? And, if that love and approval is withheld in some way, maybe until some amorphous, never-defined later date, am I then content with that? Does that mean that I have been doing things now in the hopes that you will love to me later?

I don’t like that way that feels. It feels…manipulative. But also plaintive. And weak. I don’t like my nature to be used against me.

V is a person that loves (and is skilled at) strategizing. He can see the long goal, and is willing to sacrifice a whole lot of now to achieve something way in the future. You can see how our two natures may experience some strife, having come into each other’s orbit.

In some ways, it is a positive thing for me. He asks me to extend my shortsightedness and envision a better day than today. To hold in the now, accept what there is, knowing that underlying it all is some Grand Plan. To believe that there is a path to this place that we both want, and if I simply hold the line, someday, it will be here.

I’m less optimistic. And did I mention that I am (alas) super needful of validation and appreciation? So I struggle with this. It is my nature to always pitch in, to be helpful, to do what I can to ease someone else’s burden. But it is also in my nature to seek approval and love and validation that I am a good person, a worthy person, from those same people to whom I extend myself. And “waiting until … ” doesn’t always cut it for me.

Of course my penchant for being super demonstrative plays into my feelings on all this. I love you, I tell you I love you. I hug you. I tell you I appreciate you. I want you to know how much I appreciate you!

Not everyone is like this. For some people, being demonstrative is a weakness. And showing tenderness is weak. So, being me, it’s hard not to see this as…maybe not rejection, but…something akin to it. But even saying I want that makes me cringe, because I should be doing the things I do out of love and not in expectation of anything else.

Sigh. Times I think I think too much.

But really? I just want to be free to express myself in whatever form that takes, and not fear that it won’t be reciprocated. To be free of the ego, I suppose. To just give, in the best way I know how, and accept what is, even if it isn’t reciprocation. Even if it isn’t appreciation.

That’s a hella tall order, for someone that doesn’t strategize.


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