I'm Giving Up My Enemies

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What would happen if we gave up having enemies? Is "enemy" too strong a word? How about rivals? People that did us wrong. People who we don't like to work with, who aren't our tribe, who make us crazy, who bother us, who lied to us, tricked us, manipulated us, who just aren't our people - what if we gave up all of that?

Last weekend I texted a friend that I was giving up an enemy. The text was out of the blue, but mine is always like that to her, and I needed her to see it (more on that in a second).

"I’ve decided that the work she is doing is fine. I’ve decided that by supporting her work I can be free to do mine. I’ve decided not to be intimidated by her. I’ve decided her work has no bearing on my work. I’ve decided that we are all doing what we think is best. PHEW. Why? Because fighting her and trying to figure her out is a waste of time. And we don’t need an enemy. True leadership is found when we allow people to be leaders in their own right. Her power does not diminish mine (or yours)."

That was the text.

Why send it? Because I believe it is time to let things go. I’m learning, slowly, that those around me can’t diminish the work I’m doing every day unless I let them. I also can’t continue to hold grudges about past wrongdoings because they only hurt me - they don't even care that I'm holding the grudge. People don’t have to do the work that I’m doing, I don’t have to like the way they do their own work and I don’t have to take everyone out for tea to get along. I can lighten up and let go.

  • Do you have a list of people who you hold grudges about?
  • Are other people rallying around your list of enemies on your behalf?
  • How much time are you spending thinking about them or trying to figure them out?
  • Aren't you ready to give all that up for the ultimate freedom of not giving a shit? Seriously, you can get your energy, mind and time back if you stop thinking about them. 
  • Burn the list.

Why? Because holding onto my hate was causing me to suffer. Not them. They probably don’t give a damn about what I think because they are too busy doing their own thing. I don’t have to spend my time worrying about how they are doing things. That’s just a procrastination of doing my own great stuff.

More importantly, I was making other people suffer, too. Here’s the thing, if I said that person was mean to me or that person didn’t do this right they would take up my cause. That person would become their enemy, too. That’s what people do. Think about the people you don’t like and see if it is because of something they did to you directly or if you are picking up the banner of someone else’s hurt. Are you carrying other people's burdens or giving yours to someone else? It's time to drop all of that.

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
— Abraham Lincoln

It’s not my job to figure them out. That was the thing my friend pointed out as a biggie. The time we spend trying to understand why they do what they do. Who cares? We don’t need to spend our precious time analyzing why they do their thing their way. It just isn’t productive and it doesn’t matter. It isn’t our thing and our thing is the only thing we should be spending time on.

Holding onto a grudge is killing my vibe and making me sour.

They keep saying that our country is divided and I’m beginning to see how we can hate whole swaths of people who never did anything to us just by picking sides. I’m tired of picking sides. I’m also tired of holding onto the list of people who hacked me off at one time or another. I can let that list go and just do my own work.

Am I perfect? Nope. Will I immediately be able to let go past hurts and slights? Probably not, but if that is my intention it might happen easier. I don’t have a lot of regrets in my life, but I do regret not mending my relationships with my sister and my mom before they died. I could have learned this letting shit go lesson a whole lot earlier, but I’m stubborn and it takes me a while to get things. Now I’m practicing it with people I work with, folks in my community, people who are peripheral friends, people who are rude at the grocery store… because life really is short and we need to learn to let stuff go. I need to. Do you?

I really do want to be a pineapple. I want to stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet inside. That is enough to let go of having enemies.

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash