The Path to Loneliness is Paved with Enemies
ETA For the Sake of Clarity: The message here is to CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE ENEMIES even if people chose to make you THEIR enemy. You will be happier and have more friends if you live your life without labeling people as your enemies. This is the advice I’m giving (feel free to disagree, take or leave it) and this is the advice I’m living by. *I* have no enemies. Might some people see ME as THEIR enemy? I don’t know. That’s none of my business. My business is my friends and family.
There’s a LOT going on right now, all over the web. I’ve stayed out of it for many reasons. Most importantly, I want to focus on my friends, on my family, on the good things in life. Talking about the bad things don’t make them go away (though perhaps some therapists might disagree) but creating good moments and walking a good path is healthy for me and, hopefully, inspiring for others.
Instead of “combating” the problems I see in the world, I’ve found it more useful to live my life like the solution. I won’t contribute to the problem and I won’t judge those who are part of the problem. Both of those things only add fuel to the flame. Besides, I’ve seen way to many people wrongfully accused and way to many people accusing that have NO room to speak (but are damn good at hiding their own secrets, apparently). If I know their judgments are meaningless, why would I want to add my judgment to theirs? It would cheapen the value of my own word.
In other words, as much as I would want to yell at someone for unnecessarily cutting down a tree, I find it more productive to just go out and plant two trees of my own. And so is the case with anyone who is up to no good: fighting them may defeat them, but it won’t change them. Take also for example my campaign against bullying. Would it help me to go find these bullies and knock them down a peg or two? Or is it more productive to nurture the victims, so that they can know they are loved and rise above?
I’m not going to speak to specific cases of anything, but I wanted to share something I have noticed. And this doesn’t just apply to the dramas you find on the internet, but it also applies to our society in general. There are patterns that we see that start perhaps as early as elementary school and, for some, continue into adulthood.
What causes a need for people to have enemies in the first place? Almost always, it’s jealousy, I can tell you that much. Jealousy creates the need to feel superior. When someone doesn’t feel superior, but needs to, they will create a false superiority or the appearance of superiority by being hurtful, demeaning, or degrading of others. They will make up lies, they will twist words–anything they can do to give that person a “lesser” image, and, if possible, inflate their own image at the same time.
I’ll be skewered alive for making this analogy, I’m sure, but I do think Hitler is a perfect example. Bear with me, because I am NOT comparing Hitler to modern day bullying AT ALL. Instead, I’m talking about how declaring you have enemies creates problems, and that a lot of heartache can be avoided by not doing so.
In his attempt to create a “superior race” (which he claimed himself to be a part of) he also CONVINCED other people that he was doing this for THEIR own good. So some of his minions were created out of fear, I’m sure, but others were truly loyal to him because they believed in his message, which was that Jewish people were “the enemy”.
For more perspective on what I’m talking about, read this excerpt, then go on and check the source and read the whole article!:
“Hitler simplified Arthur de Gobineau’s elaborate ideas of struggle for survival between the different races, among which the Aryan race, guided by providence, was supposed to be the torchbearers of civilization. In Hitler’s conception, Jews were enemies of all civilization, especially the Volk.”
Source (but I originally saw it on the History Channel!)
Of course, it was all hysteria. He convinced people to believe lies, to believe they needed him to protect their future. A lot of it was brainwashing, and for those who knew it was wrong, they were too afraid to stand up to him. In fact, in situations like these, people also become too afraid to even be silent. They feel they must make their loyalty KNOWN in order to survive.
Now, with Hitler, the stakes were much higher. I would never compare Hitler’s tactics to modern day behavior. However, the psychology there says it all, and the psychology is what I’m talking about here. His first step was to convince his followers that other people were the enemy. To paint themselves as the good guys who were defending their future.
Why did I make this comparison? Well, I could have told you about an experience from my childhood or a scene from a movie you’ve never scene before or characters from a book you’ve never read. But I chose to go with something that you might know about, or can easily learn about from a History book or a little online research. Hitler convinced his followers that Jewish people were the enemy, and it’s not unpopular belief that he hated himself. Thank chocolate there is no modern day equivalent to that!
So how DOES it affect us in the modern day to choose to call people our enemies, and why do people who engage in these activities never stop? Why, if they have already put themselves “above”, do they continue to feel the need to put others down?
Well, because it’s empty. Even the most deluded person knows, on a subconscious level, the truth. And it will nag at them that they couldn’t gain a genuine superiority. In order to fill that emptiness, they need more and more people to feel superior to. If they can find someone they are genuinely better than, GREAT. If not, they can create the same results superficially.
Not only that, but the way this works is: If you’re not with them, you’re against them. Which leaves potential for them to lose friends faster than they gain them–because let’s face it: no one is going to agree with their friends all the time.
The alternative is that they fear losing friends (because they already feel lonely) and so they pretend to agree even when they don’t. This makes the other party feel lonely for a whole other reason: they know their friends can’t possibly be sincere, and so the friendships have no depth or meaning. It’s a bit like having a room full of cardboard cut outs. Not exactly my idea of a party, if you catch my drift.
Finally, having enemies only leads to having more enemies. Sure, I’ve seen people bond over a common enemy, but I’ve also seen people extend their enemy list to include the friend’s of their enemies, or heck, even people who have merely made A SINGLE positive comment about their enemy. Or heck again, even their enemy’s shoes.
Have you seen the movie Mean Girls? Well, I have because I’m a dork who watches teenage girly movies (does that tell you all you need to know about me? Maybe it discredits this post entirely…) Anyway, in movies like that, there is always THE ENEMY. Then, any friends of the enemy are ALSO enemies. Then, if any of the friends of the Queen B say ANYTHING less than horrible about THE ENEMY, they become (even if only momentarily) the enemy as well. Because the enemy is not allowed to be seen as having any redeeming qualities: not even a cute purse. By the same token, if the Queen B will turn on her own friends over a single positive comment about the enemy, you can bet she will attack any stranger or friend of the enemy who makes a positive comment as well.
The whole concept about this is to silence opinions. So, sure, we want to think we can stand up to these people, but most people are too afraid and really, it never works. The BEST thing you can do is to keep having your own opinion. Yes, someone may hate you for liking the shoes of someone they hate, but true nobility isn’t in hiding your opinion nor fighting with them over it. It’s in being true to yourself, despite whatever goes on around you, and showing other people that they can do the same.
To do this, though, you have to be willing to be an extension of someone’s enemy, and yes, sometimes that takes a great deal of bravery. Because let’s face it, unless you are a cardboard cutout, you will always have a friend that is SOMEONE’s enemy. The real people who lose in these situations–the real people that deserve pity–are the Queen B’s of our world. They are lonely. And no matter how much they “succeed”, they will always be lonely. And the more they continue on their path, the more enemies they will find. If you want to be true to yourself, you can only escape them so long before your number’s up. BUT if you stay true to yourself the whole way through, and inspire others to do the same, perhaps in time they will realize their efforts to bully you out of your opinion is futile. It’s not always easy to weather the storm, but there ARE good people out there who will help you patch your roof if you spring a leak.
You know, just keep on truckin’!
Indeed, the path to loneliness is paved with enemies. The best thing anyone can do to combat this, however, is not to join that path. You can be someone’s enemy without allowing them to be yours. Because your life is about what you do and what you focus on. If you are focusing on your friends, you are already combating any potential enemies without even realizing it. Besides, your friends are way more deserving of your time.
And right about now, I have to say thank you to my friends for sticking with me through the hard times I went through to realize all this. You guys are amazing.
For anyone out there who is struggling, don’t fall into the trap of thinking someone can destroy you, no matter what they say, no matter how far they go or what lies they tell. The people who don’t see through it aren’t worth your time. Moreover, you should spend that time “making it”. Trust me, I know from experience that no matter what anyone says, you can still make it. You will make it every day by having friends, by working hard, and by believing in yourself.
Still don’t believe me? Fair enough. Perhaps success quotes on pretty purple backgrounds aren’t enough. You stay tuned to this blog and see if I don’t post some MAJOR news that PROVES that other people cannot “ruin” you, that YOU are in control of your future. Do your best to be a good person and you will attract the people in life who CAN help you achieve your goals. Because the truth is, how can someone who could never “make” you be the one to “ruin” you? And these people who go around TRYING to ruin people? They only do so because they don’t know how to make themselves, let alone anyone else.
I guess there are two messages here: 1) Choose not to have enemies, and, to a lesser extent, 2) If people chose you to be their enemy, don’t let it distract you from the people who deserve you attention.
And this concludes one long, way-to-serious blog post that began way too many sentences with a conjunction.
Rebecca Hamilton is a USA Today bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author. Her bestselling Forever Girl Series is available at online retailers and has been optioned for film with Witten Pictures. The Hungarian edition has been published with IPC books and the German edition has been published with Darkiss, a Harlequin imprint.