“You’re so lucky you have the upper hand!”
I’ve been told this countless times. “At least you’ve got the upper hand!“. When it comes to jobs, friendships, romantic relationships, you name it.. Apparently I’ve got the upper hand.
But I’m not playing a game, so what does that even mean?!
Whether I’m pioneering for my next career break, butting heads with a childhood friend or navigating my way through the petrifying unknown that is a yet to be exclusive relationship, I am usually the one that cares less. I don’t know why my level of care for matters that hypothetically should be of great importance is so low. But I do know this- the less you care, the less you have to lose.
Or so it seems anyway.
See, the way my friend sees it is that when you care less, you are automatically pulled into a scenario whereby you essentially have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Hence, I apparently by default, will almost always have the upper hand in games I didn’t even know I was playing.
Whilst I’ve got to admit that to a degree she is right, I do want want to point out one very important thing. Yes, I technically do have less (not nothing) to lose and everything to gain.. But my waning level of care hinders my judgement on so many situations.
My level of ambition to excel professionally is about as high as a stepladder. Although this is partly due to my inner Millennial money habits, this is also largely attributed to the fact that I have always had a revolving door mentality. If I lose my job for whatever reason, I’ll just find another one. No biggie. I do not hold the same level of loyalty or desire to impress my employer as the majority of my peers do. Whilst in the short run this may make me feel like I have the upper hand, I’m in reality setting myself up to draw the short straw. It’s close to impossible to build a successful career without ambition. If I keep going the way I’m going, 20 odd years down the track my LinkedIn profile will probably list around 20 different employers, 10 industry changes and 5 career breaks.
And just as it is almost impossible to build a meaningful career without ambition, it’s extremely difficult to foster meaningful relationships (both platonic and romantic) when you feel like you don’t need them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not saying that I view everyone as disposable. I appreciate every kind stranger that I have crossed paths with, my past romantic relationship and every single friend that has managed to put up with me until now.
But the issue is that I am reactive, not proactive.
When I meet someone and I get along with them, I don’t go out of my way to keep in contact with them unless circumstances push me to. Essentially, unless you are the one being proactive in fostering a friendship, we will never get past the hi/bye stage. This works out fine when the odd person decides that they also get along with me and are willing to make the first move. But more often than not, I let people who I genuinely would have gotten along with slip through the cracks. It’s a shame and it’s why I feel I don’t actually have the upper hand.
I also don’t feel I have the upper hand because I’m not playing a game. I’ve never viewed jobs/friendships/relationships as power plays. I’m in them because I want to be in them. But despite this I apparently have a tendency to make other parties feel unappreciated. Although this is definitely not my intention, when someone tells you how they feel, you don’t get to decide whether that’s true or not.
Lucky for me time is linear. Although I don’t have the power to hit rewind, I do have the power to make the conscious effort to show appreciation going forward.
So, here’s to appreciation. Appreciation for the amazing people, places and things that are a part of my life. And here’s to not only appreciating, but actually showing it.