I’m the kind of person that only learns from a good scolding. My parents figured that out long ago, and, to this day, they still use it, though sparingly. When some people in your life act adversarially, don’t worry, they’re telling you the truth—about yourself.
For instance, I did not quite catch on to the truth about credit, though I could once upon a time ago, maybe, sorta, grasp the concept of the golden rule of compounding interest. It wasn’t until the checkout woman at the clothing store, upon watching me swap from using my debit card to my credit card commented, “Oh, debit to credit? That just means you pay now or pay later.” She didn’t like me much, and yet, she woke me up to the evils of credit. Without that slightly unpleasant exchange, I would not have woken up and embarked on my angst over being in debt…and finally paying it off.
Why is this so crucial? Your enemies are trying to hurt you. They pick on your weaknesses to do this. This helps, believe it or not, because you need to have your weaknesses exposed constructively to grow. Constructive doesn’t mean coddling. It doesn’t mean positive reinforcement or gentle suggestions. It means that of which will reach you at your soul’s core so that you change. For me, it takes disciplining and scolding. That is simply my personality. I don’t think much when someone says something positive or when I’m complimented. I double-take, though, when someone is negative. Somehow, that is a method of learning that works really well for someone as stubborn and narcissistic as myself. Well, I must not be incorrigible if I can change with discipline.
One thing that discipline does that people such as I find difficult is that it puts you in your place. But, you know, I respond to that too. I’m not above the rules of human nature. That’s why this article title is about “keeping your enemies closer”. Yes, friends are wonderful. The sensitivity some friends show is beautiful. But what really goads us to change and climb upwards are the harsh truths of reality. Only your enemies are ruthlessly honest enough to show you that.
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