What use are enemies

The art of loving your enemies

"Much enemy much ore"is a well-known saying. A couple of well-kept ones Enmities often make more successful than moral acid We all like each other-Slogans. Because enmity spurs us on. At least that's the result of a study by Brock University of Canada among amateur hockey players. The researchers showed that the release of testosterone and cortisol - a stress hormone and performance enhancer - was higher at the amateurs' home games than they were away. The researchers concluded that the players - like many animal species - were under tension because they had to defend their territory. But it's even better, his Loving enemies

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In all enmity

Enemies are sometimes the more interesting contemporaries. They challenge us the most.

Real opponents know us and ours well enough Weak points. They use their knowledge against us, but you can also see things positively:

Enemies (as well as critics, by the way) hold up a mirror to us and thus give us the chance to work on our mistakes and to grow.

Besides, it is not wrong to say that our enemies are often, unwillingly, our greatest benefactors. They alert us to mistakes that hide from our eyes our own vanity, the indulgence of our partisan friends, and the low courtesy of flatterers.

That once wrote Adolph Freiherr von Knigge. And Honoré de Balzac mused wisely: "Where there are no enemies, no victories can be celebrated."

"Love your enemies", Jesus Christ already admonished his disciples. In fact, he had more in mind than personal growth.

Nonetheless, his profound and provocative statement remains one of the greatest Challenges of life: To love one's enemies - who can do that ?!

Of course with this one Enemy love neither a form of romantic affection, still sexual attraction meant.

It simply means in the other - in spite of or precisely because of its obvious Hostility - To see a lovable fellow human being who has just as flaws and edges as we all and therefore the right to be respected.

Granted, that doesn't make things any easier. And depending what act preceded it, even almost impossible. But it's not completely impossible either.

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Why it is wise to love your enemies

And what's more, there are several reasons why you should love your enemies.

Granted, that sounds pathetic, pastoral, like blog preaching and penance 2.0. But that doesn't make it any less true.

And to put your mind at ease, even if you're not a Christian - most of them Religious founders, philosophers and psychologists come to similar insights!

Because who loves his enemies ...

  • ... find peace.

    Revenge has never done a wrong right. And hatred does not heal wounds, it only numbs the pain for a short time. Those who cultivate their resentments and fight their enemies run the great risk of being burned out in the process, that their anger and bitterness eat them up and that both end up being directed against the people they actually love. Forgiveness, on the other hand, ends the spiral of anger, closes the past and lets you find peace again.

  • ... gains self-respect.

    Loving the people who want you to be good is child's play. However, maturity is only achieved by those who master challenges that go beyond their previous limits. And being stronger than your instincts (especially resisting the lower ones) gives you tremendous self-respect.

  • ... becomes a role model.

    Let's be honest: Anyone who hits back immediately because they have been injured does not exactly demonstrate a sovereign character. Somebody like that responds only instead of to act - He is led (by the aggressor) instead of taking the lead himself. Someone who succumbs to their passions every time is not a role model. Those who keep nonchalance and calm, on the other hand, give off the nobler figure.

  • ... changes his enemy.

    Everyone would expect you to return hostile attacks. First and foremost your enemy. But by doing the unexpected and completely opposite, you destroy the game - and you win the war. Or, to use another picture: You are drawing the oil from the fire. This gives your counterpart more time to think about both of them or even to approach you instead of having to prepare his next attack. It is not uncommon for that alone to initiate a change of heart on both sides.

  • ... makes a friend.

    Wherever there are great emotions involved, best friends can become mortal enemies. But it also works the other way round: history is full of wars, but also of great reconciliations that have resulted in deep friendships. US President Abraham Lincoln is said to have said about the warring southern states during the civil war: "Don't I destroy my enemies by making them my friends?" And just someone who has been bitterly pursuing other people's weaknesses often has enough talent to compensate for them as a friend.

That’s the theory. However, it's also the easiest part. To practice loving one's enemies, is much more difficult.

But - as already mentioned - not impossible.

Tips to reconcile with your enemies

As the Feat of love of the enemy can work:

  1. Breathe.

    Before doing anything rash: take a deep breath! Anger is a bad advisor. In a crisis situation, psychologists unanimously advise to shift down three gears and become aware of your own feelings: What exactly am I feeling? Why? Is that good and sensible? The point is to first objectify the situation. That takes a lot of discipline, no question about it. But possibly protects you from an even greater foolishness.

  2. Forgive.

    What is meant here is not a sentimental outburst. But without forgiveness, no one can love his enemies. At some point you have to accept the situation as it is and make up - regardless of how badly you have been hurt. You can't change the past anyway. But the future - and with it everyone has the chance to determine their own life again. "When we hate our enemies, we give them great power over our sleep, appetite, health and calmness"wrote Andrew Carnegie. Why should it stay that way?

  3. To forget.

    That is closely related to forgiveness. Closing up with the past also means never tearing open old wounds. Both in your own interest, but also because it is part of the deal to really reconcile and forgive.

  4. Rethink.

    Our perception is anything but objective, but mostly quite one-sided. Whoever begins to recognize in his enemy a person who has motives and mistakes, who puts himself in his position, develops a much clearer view of things, reduces his own stress and gains understanding. "We almost always forgive when we understand", also recognized Mikhail Lermontov.

  5. Search.

    No matter how bad the act was, it never fully defines the other. Everyone also has their good sides. Admittedly, with some you have to search longer. But there is. By focusing your gaze on it, you do not change the other, but yourself. Often you notice that the hostility was based only on pride, fear, ignorance, prejudice or misunderstanding. And you may even recognize something of yourself in it. The knowledge reduces enmity: "What is not in us does not upset us", knew Hermann Hesse. How true!

Even if it is hard: Try to love your enemies. It is worth it…

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November 14, 2020Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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