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 recite the golden rule of compounding interest. It wasn’t until the checkout woman at the clothing store watched me swap from using my debit card to my credit card that she commented, “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 unpleasant exchange, I would not have embarked on my angst over being in debt.
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. It means what will reach you at your 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 that stubborn and narcissistic if I can change with discipline.
One thing that discipline does which people like me 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 is the harsh truths of reality. Only your enemies are ruthlessly honest enough to show you that.
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