What Enemies Teach Us

People with whom we have less affinity can help us to be more patient and calmer, to discover our true strength.

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Photo by iam_os on Unsplash

The term “enemy” has led to discomfort for many. An enemy can be depicted as sounding too strong and focusing entirely on someone or something else. There is something we can learn about the concept of enemies.

The Dalai Lama is one of the people most known for favoring peace in the world. He often refers to enemies in his books and speeches on life satisfaction.

My Spiritual Biography” is one of his books that runs through three vital commitments: the development of the qualities of the heart, dialogue, and the politics of kindness.

According to him, enemies serve as our teachers. He argues that we learn the importance of patience, control, and tolerance by facing them from this perspective.

Perhaps we already knew the theory, but only the enemy allows us to put it into practice. By forcing us to be tolerant, it will enable us to have a more serene mind.

People can influence us, but we don’t have to give them permission to control us.

– Jonathan Printers Jr.

Likewise, adverse situations can become humanized for some and take on the meaning of being an enemy. What is interesting is that for some, in reflection, we realize that adversity helps to shape us.

To clarify, war and violence is a separate argument and article. In war, generally, the defeated pay a heavy price, and it’s understandable to need to overcome an enemy when lives are threatened.

In this case, I encourage you to think subjectively and be mindful of the things or people that oppose you.

It’s all about energy and focus

Hatred corrodes the container it’s in.

Sen. Alan Simpson.

According to the Dalai Lama, we should never want to defeat the enemy. He mentions hatred and rage are the only enemies we would have to defeat.

Suppose all of our energy is spent externally focusing on the actions of someone else. In that case, that doesn’t leave us with much of anything.

Alternatively, the same energy we expel onto others can be used consciously on the things that will improve your happiness, such as building relationships and developing.

Empathy, Compassion, Peace

Additionally, Bert Hellinger, a psychoanalyst, suggested that anything that happens in your family line will influence how you think, feel, and behave now. Also, other factors that are included are a community, population, and/or an entire country.

He suggests that enemies, both small and high-caliber, present opportunities for empathy and must be respected because we do not know the purpose they serve.

Each person you will meet has a story, a backstory, and motivations for their behavior. Some intentionally want to harm, and some become misunderstood.

It’s too easy to turn judgment into hate, rage, or opposition. People can influence us, but we don’t have to give them permission to control us.


An “enemy’s” external resistance helps us achieve something more remarkable: to see what our true strength is and what it is possible to achieve.

We put the blunt concept of the enemy aside and replaced it with “someone who makes us angry.” It’s a matter of perspective and taking that external focus and turning it inside.

The shift presents us with an opportunity to explore the very feelings that only we have control over. Not only does it help us cultivate patience, but it allows us to increase awareness and learn how to manage anger.

Perhaps the lesson is not to focus on something external, but to look inward, asking: what can I learn from this?

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