Insight Shorts

My greatest enemy

Jan 4, 2023 | Insights

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Don't avoid your greatest enemy. Instead, look on them as your greatest friend, be grateful for what they teach you, accept the lessons and grow.
Our friend Elea stayed with us last week on a visit from the States. She is a five-times Lourdes pilgrim, and values of compassion, kindness, service and empathy are essential to her.

It was a surprise, therefore, when she talked about how she could not stand one of her work colleagues. She was downright vitriolic in her assessment of her colleague, describing him as arrogant, self-centred, dismissive and undoubtedly her worst enemy, who she tried to avoid at all costs.

However, when the man’s wife died recently, Elea felt compelled to channel Lourdes and everything the shrine stands for. She put her feelings behind her, offered her condolences to her colleague and gave him a Lourdes medallion to soothe his grief. She was completely taken aback when he burst into tears and expressed deep gratitude for her kindness and compassion.

Friends and enemies

There is a maxim about friends and enemies, which usually describes your best friend as your greatest enemy, possibly because your best friends know so much about you they pose a danger if they ever fall out with you. Or, it may be because your best friend dares not tell you the truth about yourself for fear of being cast out of your circle of friends.

But what about the reverse? Can we think about our worst enemy as being our best friend? As a matter of fact, this is true more often than not, as it was in Elea’s case. Unlike your best friend, who may shy away from telling you brutal home truths, your worst enemy constantly teaches you about yourself and how to deal with life’s challenges, even if you don’t realise it.

In Elea’s case, the incident, precipitated by her greatest enemy, taught her several lessons:

  • Outward signs of arrogance and contempt are often masks for fear and inadequacy.
  • Compassion is compelling and can create change and make a difference in unexpected ways.
  • Initial assessments are often wrong.
  • Walking into the fire by facing your challenges gets results.

A route to growth and change

Your greatest enemy has so much to teach you; once you accept this, you will walk the path to personal growth and change.

So, who is your greatest enemy at the moment? How has this situation arisen, and what are you learning from the relationship?

In the answers lies the solution to how you intend to deal with your greatest enemy and create the profound change that will make a difference in both your lives.

So don’t avoid your greatest enemies. Instead, be grateful for what they are teaching you, accept the lessons and grow.

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