What qualifies an individual to be a bona fide foe rather than a potential ally? We are often convinced that someone is our enemy before we are able to make a qualified decision about the person ourselves. We are told, “They are your enemy because of what they believe in”. Or, “They are your enemy because of how they speak.” Or we are told, “That person is your enemy because of the language that they speak”. More often than not, we are told, “They don’t look like us, so they are our enemy.” And then we may also be told, “They are able to do something that you are unable to do. It’s unfair.” Or even more sadly, and this one is usually the precursor to war “We have strength and resources that they don’t. They have something that we want. Let’s attack them and take what we did not earn in order to level the playing field. It is our right to do so because [insert excuse here]”. Really?
Did your so-called enemy really do something to you to deserve your disdain? Most likely not, but it was caused by something that you saw in your unfortunate so-called foe that you wish was a part of you or you may even wish that people would say the same cool things about you that they say about them. Reflecting negativity onto someone else is not a substitute for solving the real internal issues that are plaguing you. It feels good to hate on them now, but it will not bring you real satisfaction and it is only a quick temporary fix. No matter what you may have lied and told yourself, you will regret it later on. It is much better to address your real problems rather than to create enemies.
I was taught that whenever it is possible, to live peaceably with all people. However, not so long ago, I came upon a situation where I thought that I was making a friend. This individual was part of a world-view that was different from mine, but I wasn’t concerned about it. I had made acquaintances with other people from this same world-view and had been on great terms with them. The last thing on my mind was rivalry. So I didn’t see this person as an enemy at all. However, their heart was brimming with malicious intentions towards me. Their actions involved, and still involve, supposedly building themselves up at my expense. I was sincerely trying to be a friend, but they had made up in their mind that I was their enemy “from go”.
I was not their enemy then and I am still not their enemy.
In my children’s adventure, “Nobody Told Me I Couldn’t…” I included a confrontation between two of the characters that mirrors how their two species interact with each other in nature. They are at complete odds. But circumstances have a way of revealing where friendship is and forcing us to have to rely on our so-called enemies. So be careful how you label others and know that the real enemy is the one that lives inside of you.