Sunday, July 17, 2011

Everyone A Pawn on Someones’ Chess Board

As I continue to enjoy my evolving “big picture, middle age mind”, or so I have read, I relish the analogy of life’s relationships as all occurring on myriad overlapping chessboards. I further note that on every chessboard, both mine and those of all I am in relations with, I am a piece, sometimes queen, a few times king, most times pawn, and when in the zone, knight. :-) This consideration has caused me to meditate more and more on the reality that I, and so we all, am a pawn on every someones’ chessboard that I engage with. Everyone has an agenda for me. I play a role of getting everyone who values me something they want else they do not value me, else they probably do not perceive themselves as even being relationship with me, despite the fact that I might perceive otherwise based on my own chessboards.

Acceptance of this reality helps me to better tolerate being manipulated and used, sometimes even betrayed, by others. With this understanding, I am able to take all this less personally knowing that this is the nature of things. I can even have compassion on the idea that everyone is mostly just moving me around, sacrificing me, advancing me, promoting/demoting me, etc., in order to win some particular chess game they are playing against someone else, or maybe even themselves, or worst yet, me. Additionally, I work to understand what piece I am, queen, knight or pawn, and with this understanding to be the best piece I can be, as I understand I should, in order to help people win their (legitimate) chess games.

This is most challenging when you find yourself simultaneously a black and white piece on a board where 2 people are playing against one another and you want both of them to win. These paradoxical situation definitely require thinking beyond a zero-sum paradigm.

So remember, we are all pawns on someone’s chess board and may we have the grace, wisdom and guilelessness to be the best pawn possible in on every board we are being played in order to manifest the Great Commandment of “love” in the world.

Some good reads that compliments this one I wrote awhile ago are at

Happy checkmating to you!


nanie3 said...

I understand that we are pawns on others' work chess boards. Daily, the others interact with you because you remain a part of the game. But when you are out or completely fall off the board (become unemployed) the game goes on without you. Those who had been in relationships with you because you were a part of their agenda, no longer even think of you because you are not in motion - no longer a part of the game. Expect no help or even caring from those who are still in the game. They have forgotten about you as the game goes on. It's as if you no longer exist.

Craig A. DeLarge said...

Nanie3: I want to encourage you regarding your comment:

1. Remember you are on multiple boards. Even if off the board of your prior job, you have your own board and you need not be off the board of those you used to work with.

2. You can only be on the board if you are offering something that is valued. When you say that you are off someone's board, ponder why you should be. What of value are you offering them that helps them win their game. And no, unfortunately, friendship is usually not enough.

3. Actually you can expect help and caring, but only from your parents if you are not putting a relevant value proposition our there for others to work with. Its painful but true. This painful realization on my part is what inspired me to write this post.

4. What of your own board? What games are you trying to win and who is on your board?

5. I know you are off the board of your last job, but what boards are you still on and how well a piece are you being?

Just some thought. Thanks again for commenting.

Sundance said...


Excellent read.

Anonymous said...

Very good article, more people need to read this.

Anonymous said...

While I understand the concept, I simply do not agree that it can work in practice. To essentially alter our own goals, ambitions, aspirations and dreams to be simplified to "being at peace with playing a pawn on someone else's chessboard" does not ring true as a sound mental health approach. Our identity is also important. It is not about making it "personal" but more to the point of finding a balance. It is not appropriated for an employer, who hires an individual with certain qualities and expertise, to set these aside (which was why they hired them in the first place), in order to be manipulated around the board at their own expense. We strive to understand customers, students, clients and patients - why do we not seek to understand our employees, partners, friends, etc.? The relationship needs to be mutual. Offer what you are seeking, ask them how they feel comfortable in assisting, and then collaborate. Is this so complicated? Are we really at the point where we have to view our human relationships in mechanical terms that apply to inanimate objects? If so, it is a very sad day.