The Path to Loneliness is Paved with Enemies

Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Debatable Topics | 56 comments

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.[41] 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.


  1. This long rambling post, which in essence is a trial in patience to even read thoroughly is astonishing. Enemies? Really? Yes there are enemies, but what you’re preaching is pure victimization. You say stand up for yourself and to “be brave” It’s brave to handle your life like an adult. How are we supposed to teach our kids what it means to be strong and to forgive when you are labeling people as enemies to begin with? People not agreeing with you does in no way qualify them as an enemy!
    It has become almost comically clear over your months of nonsensical rambling that even your devoted minions are backing off. They are beginning to see exactly who they are constantly defending…this kind of woe is me, everyone is mean to me, whining. (example: curious that no one has posted thus far, although I’m sure after a round of victim tweeting this post will explode)
    I urge you, as an adult many years your senior, to buck up.
    The problems you become embroiled in are ALWAYS of your own making (oh I’m sorry…they are bullying you)
    No I won’t give examples, all I need do is Google your name and the negative speaks for itself.
    You are constantly preaching that you are above so much, you might try actually RISING ABOVE IT. For once. People can be good, people can be mean.
    And honestly a Hitler reference? I don’t even understand how your mind comes up with these things. It’s downright troublesome.

    • Actually, I agree with you. I apologize if my point wasn’t clear:
      See, my point is that it’s a PROBLEM to label people as enemies. I’m not speaking of myself–I am not labeling anyone as my enemy, but rather accepting that some people do label others as enemies, and act accordingly.
      And it is my opinion that those who do that are lonely to begin with, and those who continue to do that will be lonelier as time passes.
      I’m speaking of people who label OTHERS as enemies and then attack them. I’m saying that those who DO label people as enemies and treat people as enemies are lonely. I am AGAINST labeling people as enemies or treating people as enemies.
      Sorry again that this wasn’t clear the first time.
      And as far as I know, I have no problems right now.
      The point here was obviously quite muddy. Shame I don’t have content editors for my blog posts lol

    • I really like this post, Becca. You know, I read something recently that really resonated with me. It was something along the lines of this: “Choose judgment or love. You can’t have both. Judgment negates love. If you choose to have love in your heart, then you are choosing to be open to the world. Judgment closes off the world. You can’t love and judge at the same time.” I will always choose love, every time. Judgment only creates pain and disallows any understanding of others and their unique life experiences.

      I think your post is wonderfully succinct on this very idea. You have always struck me as such an open, nonjudgmental person, and for those who are open to others and the world, it is especially confusing and mind-boggling to be judged in a negative way. By judging another, that person is negating the other, negating their voice and validity as a human being.

      To be a self-actualized person, the choice must always be love over judgment.There are people out there who will say that’s it’s okay to attack others because it’s a “difference of opinion.” I would say that, upon reading comments from people, if you see ones that are written without judgment, those are the ones to listen to. Those that throw around name-calling, belittling phrases, and pronouncements on your character are nothing but negative judgment and should be discounted. Judgment is unproductive and harmful. The opposite is love (i.e. openness to others and the world.)

      Thanks for always being so open with yourself, your thoughts and feelings. I always love reading your posts.

      • Thank you! I’m so glad you were able to receive my message in the way it was intended.

        I LOVE that quote, too! Do you know where it came from? It sounds like my life motto! That’s not to say I’ve never gotten off course in life, but I always come back to that, and that is always what makes me feel good. It’s all part of choosing happiness, I think! And I’m very lucky that my family and friends are always there to remind me that THEY deserve my attention and energy. It keeps me focused on what is important!

        • I got it from the book called Happiness Now by Robert Holden. It’s a beautifully written book. It makes things so clear. But you already do those things instinctively. In all the years I’ve followed you, I’ve never known you to judge another. You’ve defended yourself against judgment, yes, but never judged. You’re very open, and I think that’s a wonderful quality in life. For those who are judging you, all you can hope for is that maybe one day they will choose love and then finally experience true happiness in their lives. Choosing love is the only way to have peace. So just have compassion in your heart for them and hope they will one day see the light. Don’t try to get them to see *you* because if someone is looking through the lens of judgment, they are incapable of seeing another. Don’t take it personally.

          • Here’s another passage from the book:
            “Judgment and love are opposites. The truth is, you cannot judge and love! The experience of your entire life boils down to a simple decision–do you love or do you judge? Which do you value most? You so hoped that judgment would give you strength and peace, but there is no strength and peace in a mind that constantly judges. Love is strong. It is strong because it is free of fear and judgment. Love will give you all the peace you long for.”

          • This is great. I think everyone’s end goal IS love. I think that is why some people judge, actually. They want love but don’t know a healthy way to get it. They need self love, but can’t achieve it without validation. They NEED other people to be wrong in order to feel right.

            I think of my closest friends, and we’ve had some serious disagreements where we both felt passionately about our stance, and we were both so SURE of our stance, but ultimately, we could not get the other to see it the way we do. We didn’t need to get nasty about it, though. Why? Because this is where the divide happens. If you are confident enough in yourself and what you believe, you don’t need everyone to agree with you ALL the time. If you aren’t confident (but are unwilling to see it any other way, because you need to be right is rooted in lack of self-love) then this results in getting angry or even hostile.

            And it’s not about some people always thinking they are right, either. It’s just about not needing someone to validate you to feel like valuable in life.

            FYI: I’m not anti-validation, either. Validation is great and I think everyone deserve some! But if you can’t be nice to others unless they validate you, there are some deep-rooted things going on, and that may lead to loneliness (which sadly only aggravates the situation).

          • Thanks for the encouraging words. I am glad to have learned this through growth, but I hope with the recent campaign that we can get people to learn these things at a younger age. I learned “Choose Happiness” at a young age, but I don’t think I ever fully understood it until recently. Sounds like that is what Holden’s book is about. I may have to check it out for inspiration. I think the reasons to choose to focus on your friends and on positive things in life are too numerous to ignore. People will do what people will do. Instead of trying to change them, change how you react. Will that stop them from being them? No. the only person who can change them is themselves, and if you try to change them you are wasting energy that you deserve to spend on your family, your friends, and yourself.
            You know that saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Well, I don’t take it to mean never be critical, but if you go around in life looking for things to be angry about and people to judge and opportunities to say nasty things, well, aren’t you wasting time that could be better spent? On family, o friends, o special projects, on enlightenment, on making others feel good (because this improves the quality of the world around us), etc. I won’t tell others how to spend their time, but I will say that people who go looking for trouble find trouble, and those who are busy with friends and family won’t notice it unless it hunts them down–and even then, they’ll be too busy to engage in it.

    • I’m so confused by your comment. Did we read the same blog post? On one hand you said her devoted minions are backing off but then you said if she tweeted about this post then the comments would explode. If they are backing off wouldn’t they not comment either way? She was tweeting about this post before you commented but it sounded a little like you were trying to intimidate her out of continuing to tweet about it in the event people might see your response and think differently than you did.

      I don’t understand why someone is a minion if they like an author. I didn’t see the author say anyone was mean to her. I didn’t see her whining. This was an inspirational post.

      If you look at the books against bullying campaign it has nothing to do with Rebecca. And when I google her name, I see a lot of that other Rebecca Hamilton but I also see that Rebecca donates to autism on top of running her books against bullying campaign. I think those are positive and not negative things. Rebecca’s blog always makes me laugh. She is honest and has a nice balance of reality with just being silly.

      If this is about what happened a while back, that is really old news and the claims against Rebecca have already been debunked. That she dropped it when people continue even months later to trash talk her shows she has risen above it.

      People can be good and people can be mean like you said. Rebecca seems good to me and I won’t change my mind based on rumors that have already been debunked.

      Hopefully no more comments will derail what this post is actually about.

      Rebecca, it might be best to just not approve their comments. They might give you crap if you don’t but they are gonna give you crap either way. Then if anyone disagrees with them they are going to attack those people. Reality even did so preemptively with her use of the word minions.

      It’s ironic though that she made your point for you.

      • Lucy, don’t sweat it please :) I think Reality just misunderstood my post, probably because I was being so vague. In the end, her thoughts are much the same as the rest of us. As for the rest of her comments, she’s entitled to her opinion. I’d rather see you join the discussion on the subject and I want everyone here to feel free to be honest. The great thing about blog posts is you CAN discuss things, and through discussion we come to better understand other people’s thoughts and intentions. If I wasn’t clear on my stance before, I hope it’s clear now! But if it’s still not, I can keep talking 😉 Nothing better to put a person to sleep at this hour, right?

      • I realize my earlier post might not have come across the way I wanted. Sorry about that, Lucy. I meant to also thank you for supporting the awareness campaigns I run, and I am glad that you appreciate those things. I’m also glad that I always make you laugh! I never considered myself a funny person, but do try to keep things as light as possible. Every now and then, though, I like to talk about things like this. I like to make people think and feel and consider.

        A lot of people commenting here, they aren’t going to change based on this article because they are already living their life this way. Many of them are, in fact, my inspiration. Sometimes though it’s nice to explore things about ourselves, even if they come naturally, and nice to try to understand where others are coming from, even if we don’t agree with their actions or ideas.

        I don’t think that anyone is all bad, either. Or all good for that matter. We’re all beautiful, we’re all flawed, we all make mistakes, we all grow at our pace. Maybe some people grow faster than others. A lot of my friends seem to grow faster than me, that’s for sure! So no judgement there. But I think the important thing is that we care enough to evaluate ourselves and “be the change we want to see in the world”.

        Oh boy, now I’m quoting Gandhi! Better stop before I’m in over my head :) Take care. And again, I’m sorry if my initial response seemed short or snippy in any way. I appreciate you and I hope you feel free to express yourself here.

  2. Can I just say, I love your post? It makes sense, and I totally find this to be true. I agree, with the bullying part, jealousy part, and you aren’t alone with the mean girls 2 lol. But yeah, thanks for making a post, that for once, is true ( from all the other author’s posts)

    • Thanks for stopping by and joining the discussion!
      I was having a discussion with a friend about this recently, too, and like you, she made some great points. I was thinking maybe SHE should have written the blog post on this haha. I’m going to absorb some of her comments and share them as well, because she made some points I didn’t but that fit really well with this.

    • Becca,
      I personally believe you just spoke your mind and heart about a topic that is close to you. I’ve been following the belief of the laws of attraction for a while, and it’s a hard habit to instill especially when one is used to the vicious cycle that our society has instilled for us (intentional or not). It’s a concept that states you get back what you put out and if you put yourself into a situation where you are allowing that negativeness into your life, it changes you to be a negative person. Hate breeds hate. Love breeds love. Which emotion would you rather have more of? Seems rather self explanatory but most of us go through life with the adage of eat or get eaten. It shouldn’t be like that. I think that you are in the right for posting this. I completely agree with you! Completely. And I do agree with your analogy of Hitler. However right or wrong his actions were, it fits with the message of this post. And congrats to you in all of your success! You are one deserving lady! :)

      • Thank you so much! I know sometimes the Hitler analogy is used incorrectly, so I was hoping that didn’t happen. But I do think that Hitler hated himself, and I do think that he convinced other people that OTHERS were the enemy. He was the bad guy, yes, but I’m not talking about how he was an enemy to others for what he did. I’m sure he was! But what I am talking about is that he actually convinced his followers that EVERYONE ELSE was the enemy.

        “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.[41] In Hitler’s conception, Jews were enemies of all civilization, especially the Volk.”

        Source (but I originally saw it on the History Channel!)

        So see, what Hitler did was basically convince others that Jews were their enemy. It’s just one case where choosing to see people as your enemies turns into something ugly. And that is where it all started.

        I wouldn’t say anything today is anywhere near that level, but sometimes I like to look at these core driving forces of humanity, and I do think that there are some things in our history where self-hate–whether it looked that way on the surface or not–created hate toward others. It’s a risky analogy to make but I’m glad you saw my meaning there!

        You are right about these cycles, too. And people becomes bitter, and people become jaded, and on it goes. I don’t confess to know the answers to life or to have any perfect solutions, but I do think that is we choose to have friends and choose not to have enemies, that our quality of life will improve. And if we chose to have enemies and if common enemies are the only things that tie us to another “friend”, well, we’ll be lonely, no matter how many people are surrounding us.

  3. Essentially, an enemy is a threat and to acquire an enemy you must be in a poition that somehow poses a threat to somebody. By defending against percieved enmity, you give further reason for another attack. You can choose not to call someone enemy, but you also have to choose not to be a target and let the salvos pass you by. Yes, the best offence is a good defence, but by the same token, defence is an attack. The only way not to acquire enemies, adversearies, opponents, is not to enter the arena at all. Don’t court controversy and it will soon lose interest in you too.

    • *adversaries – nothing to do with ears!

      • LOL! I can read typonese :) (And if you read my blog post, you can, too!)

    • Great comments! I agree to a point, though it does assume to extent you can completely control what others do. Sometimes you cannot (unless you live in a bubble and never speak a word, hoping that no one will ever realize you exist).Such as I think of teens who are mocked in school for not wearing cool clothes. They could not go to school, but they must. They could wear cooler clothing, but might not be able to afford it. Certainly they did not chose to be anyone’s enemy and likely they don’t see those who tease them as being their enemies. They just want to be left alone. Defense, however, isn’t the answer. At least not in the traditional sense. I don’t think these kids can “fight back” and then everything will be okay. Likely it will be worse. Their actions become ammo or excuses for further attacking. I wish I could tell these kids to ignore it and it will go away, but the reality is, that’s just blanket advice that almost never never works. Instead, what I would recommend to them is to focus on friends and family. You can’t stop someone from being a jerk, but you can control how you react. Don’t get defensive, don’t stoop to their level, and most importantly don’t let it defeat you. Chose to counteract the negative by surrounding yourself with other, positive things. Not only will that make them feel better, but it will also help them achieve success in life.

  4. Many people tend to be very black/white on their views, and struggle to understand that massive gray area in life. I don’t always agree with my friends, but I have no reason to disown them unless they are harming someone.

    I don’t find this to always be the case with others, though. A lot of people can’t handle differences. The larger that difference is, the bigger the divide is likely to become. And when we no longer agree, we naturally take sides.

    I think a small, but common, real world example are friends to a couple who divorce. At first, that person wants to stay friends with both parties. More often than not it seems, it will eventually become a clean sever. Situations vary, but it’s easier for people to pick a team with which to identify.

    Basic psychology.

    I choose not to have enemies. Instead, I just decide who I do and do not want in my life.

    • Excellent example! Which goes to show that it can happen with even those who have the best intentions at heart. It’s almost like the nature of society.

      As for those who do choose to have enemies, I guess that is their choice. I think if they were confident in their friendships, though (and themselves) they wouldn’t need their friends to hate their chosen enemies. In other words, if an enemy is so horrible, they should know their friends will see it for themselves.

      Using your divorce example, I think it’s POSSIBLE that in SOME cases, they feel like if a mutual friend chooses them, that the divorce wasn’t their fault, or that they were the good guy in the divorce. Sort of like validation, which everyone benefits from to an extent, but it does become a problem when instead of saying “support me by being there for me” you are saying “support me by hating him/her with me”.

      I’ve met some divorced couples who are still friends and don’t have this problem at all, and they strike me as confident people who just weren’t a good romance-match. Sometimes we put too much focus on placing blame, I think.

  5. I agree. I think you can distill this down to one core concept: Life is too short to give negative people your time and energy. If people want to slag on you (and they will if you’re anything more than a cog in the machine of society) it is best to dismiss them and move on.

    It IS easier said than done. When the lesser people try to tear down those who choose the high ground, they use the most hurtful means they can. But, you must remain true to your purpose and leave them to wallow in their own quagmire of jealousy and impotence.

    • Great summation, great advice, and damn, boy, great vocabulary :)

  6. One of the hardest things to deal with are people who actively spread lies and misinformation about people. I’ve been the subject of that type of behavior, and you wouldn’t believe how many people will believe outright lies. There are some people (women especially) who are very good at this type of underhanded warfare. I used to try to defend myself, but then that meant I was involved in the other person’s game. I finally came to the point where I realized, “If someone is going to believe the lies against me without getting to know my true character, then I am better off without them.” It can actually be an excellent filtering device, if one can get enough distance. It’s hard, though, when something you hold dear is threatened (your reputation, livelihood, children’s friendships, or whatever).

    • I’m sorry you went through that. I worry about that in general, especially when I see it in our youth (not to discount what adults go through). Maybe it’s easier for adults, though, because they can find other people who have bee through it, or make friends with people who outgrew their need to hurt others. But the reality is, as another commenter said, to defend yourself requires a retaliatory attack, which would make you 1) just as bad as they are, 2) takes time away from you building on positive things, and 3) takes time away from the people who do deserve your attention.

      I’ve learned that people will say what they want. They’ll make things up, take things out of context, twist your words, the list goes on. No matter who you are, someone can do this to you. So why get upset about it? Reality is, you’re in the same boat as everyone else is in, has bee in, or may one day be in. It’s a level playing field after all. And if you don’t think so, build on the positive, and it’ll all level out again.

      Maybe our society is sort of taught to think you need to go to war to find peace. I’m not telling people not to stand up for wrong doings, but I AM suggesting that the most effective approach is not be afraid to be the better example. Like growing up, I was friends with everyone. As a teen, I lived in a racist/homophobic town, but I didn’t let that dictate my friends for me. And if enough people have the confidence to be friends with anyone they want, that will outweigh any damage bullies can do.

      Let me give an example, even though my examples don’t always go over well LOL

      A long time ago, kids with autism were ruthlessly teased in school. It does still happen today. BUT, now we also have kids with autism who are being voted as class president!

      (“Now at age eleven, Ethan attends a public school with an aide, and was recently voted class president.”)

      Why is this? Is it because kids with autism stopped being autistic? No. Is it because kids with Autism started fighting with the kids who teased them? No. It’s because people decided it was cool not to be judgmental and chose to be friends with the kids, to appreciate them even if they are different.

      So we don’t need war to achieve peace. We just need peaceful people to outweigh angry people :)

  7. I totally agree, Becca. Why bother with people sometimes? When I was a teacher, I wouldn’t even sit in the break room for lunch. Too negative. Then because I didn’t, I was considered a snob. You can’t please everyone all the time,so just be true to yourself and kind to others. If you’re kind to others, you will feel good about yourself, too. It’s a win-win. I know some people don’t do this and will judge me for being one who does, but I “pray for my enemies”. I don’t call them enemies either, though. Also too negative. I just pray for people who are mean or troublesome. There’s something wrong. Not with me but with them. They are the ones who are suffering inside. You know, the acid in the bottle metaphor? I feel better after I’ve prayed for them instead of wishing them ill will. I agree, don’t call people enemies. It’s negative and we should want to surround ourselves with positive people and positive thoughts. Thank you for your post. :)

    • Exactly! You illustrate my point. Someone can treat you like you are THEIR enemy, but that doesn’t mean they are YOUR enemy. You are accountable for YOU not for them. You can’t change them, you can only change yourself (or be yourself!). You don’t have to HAVE enemies. That is something that is totally our choice. I too, choose not to have them :)

  8. I get what you’re saying. If you choose not to involve yourself in petty arguments and remain professional and neutral, people who have made you their enemy will get bored and disappear. It all goes back to that saying we learned in elementary school, “Treat others as you want to be treated.”

    If you don’t want enemies, then don’t treat people like they are enemies. Treat them with respect or don’t interact with them at all.

    It’s actually a rule I live by, especially on the internet. Stay out of petty fights and keep on the positive side of things. I’d rather be known as a kind person who doesn’t take part in silly, meaningless fights than be known for harsh words and a bad reputaion.

    This also connects with publicity. There are some companies out there who say any publicity is good publicity, but if you were running a company, wouldn’t you rather people see the positive things your company does than be known for doing something negative? Controversy is always going to be around, but as professional writers, I think it’s best to keep the controversy on the pages and not in our relationships.

    • “I think it’s best to keep the controversy on the pages and not in our relationships.”

      Excellent! You will one day be famous for that quote :)

      • Maybe I should put that on my author website?

        • It’s a great quote. I would!

  9. “The path to loneliness is paved with enemies.”

    I can’t stress enough how true that statement is.

    One of my neighbors is such a miserable old lady, she runs around reporting other neighbors to the city for the smallest infractions. She reported my neighbor’s car whose license plate was expired because her son was off at boot camp and was not using the car. Then she reported another neighbor for the weeds growing in her yard. This person was out of town for the summer and was unable to tend to her house. Instead of helping her neighbor out and pulling the weeds for her, she reported her to the city.

    This woman is miserable and alone because she makes enemies. Everyone knows she’s the one reporting people and no one likes her or invites her to neighborhood activities. No one takes presents over to her house at Christmas time or shares food with her at Thanksgiving. No one even says hi to her. I’ve tried but she just scowls and doesn’t say a word as she sits on her porch and surveys the neighborhood. She’s like that old Lizzie in Waking Ned Divine – the one who threatens to report the whole town for lottery fraud. She is living proof that the path to loneliness is paved with enemies.

    It’s just really the way it works. You reap what you sow. If you show love for others, you will get love in return. If you show hatred and scorn for others, hatred and scorn is what you will get back.

    • Now I have to see that movie. And your neighbor sounds like quite the character. I’m sure it sucks to be close to it, but from far away I almost love this neighbor of yours because she sounds kid of funny :)

      • It is a funny movie! :) Perfect Irish humor.

        • I’ll need to see if can find it on NetFlix then :)

  10. Let me start by saying, there isn’t a single person on this great big planet who:

    A) Doesn’t have an opinion about something (political, religious, educational, etc.)
    B) Doesn’t have an enemy or isn’t disliked by someone for whatever reason

    Yes, this includes myself, because I am human. I have a mind, and I live in a world that requires me to follow the path that I feel best suits my lifestyle and my choices. Yet, let me make one thing clear. You don’t have to agree with someone to love someone or respect someone.

    We have all stooped to the level of talking about someone behind his/her back, starting rumors, drawing personal conclusions about a situation or a person’s lifestyle because it’s not what YOU would do. This is when we need to step back and realize, your neighbor isn’t a carbon copy of you or anyone else for that matter.

    I have dealt with bullying on a very personal note through the eyes of two of my children. It is a serious matter, and one that sickens me to be blatantly honest. Teasing is one thing, bullying is a whole other story.

    When my two oldest boys were physically pushed around and spoken to hatefully for being friends with a Special Ed child…that’s bullying, not teasing…and that’s NOT having an opinion about something.

    I will end this by saying, I really like your post, Rebecca. And the lesson I have taught my children, and reminded myself, is the world is full of people. All creeds, all religions, all races. In order to learn how to love one another respectfully, faults, goodness and everything in between, you have to take a look in the mirror FIRST. You are not perfect, nor am I, but I love a good heart even if I don’t agree with something you’ve chosen for your life. And when you point fingers or cast judgement on someone else, you are crippling your own life without even realizing it.

    Think before you speak, and love before you judge.

    • Valerie this makes me want to cry :( When bullying gets physical, it’s plain SCARY! Look at what happened to that lit agent recently who was attacked for rejecting an author. That’s unbelievable. You have to accept people will have different opinions. You have to accept that people will disagree without getting malicious about it. You have to allow other people to have a voice, even if you don’t like what they have to say. But no one told this to the people who bullied your AMAZING kids :( You did a great job i raising them, as they faced these trials for being friends with who they wanted to be friends with. They didn’t let anyone stop them from being friends with that kid. But they should NOT have had to go through that, I so very much agree. It’s harder for kids, but I hope that they knew they could speak up to those who could help (which is never the bullies!). We can show support and negate hateful behavior not by returning attacks but by protecting and supporting those we love. Sounds like that is what you did. I hope there was a rainbow after that storm for your family. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  11. Honestly, I wish the word Enemy did not exist. Too often a disagreement inflames into something unrecognizable for all parties involved, and usually, it’s over a misunderstanding if you ask me.

    Sure, there are the toxic people in the world that want nothing more than to make other people miserable, but I happen to think those are the vast minority. I think most people are just trying to do their best and survive.

    All too often things get said that are taken the wrong way. A colleague of mine has a sign over her door that says, “Assume good intent.”

    I’ve tried to adopt that sort of motto in my life, but sometimes I have to remind myself, when someone has hurt me, that I have hurt people too. I have said things that have escalated just because of a misunderstanding, so I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    Like you said, Becca, I choose to keep my focus on my family and friends. There have been a lot of great comments on this post and dialogue can change attitudes if someone has an open mind.

    I hope that eventually no word for enemy will exist. Such an inflammatory term needs to be abolished if you ask me. We all come from the same source. We all love and desire to be loved. And we all can embrace what is good in the world if we choose to. Everyday is a choice. Every thought, every word, too.

    I believe if we are mindful of others, and try to do what is right, we will be blessed. That includes how we treat others.

    You are right. Inside every bully is a hurt person crying out for love and acceptance. I, like you, hope that one day they will find what they are looking for, and most of all what will make them happy. Until then, it is up to all of us to lift up those who have been bullied and extend friendship where we can.

    • I totally agree with you. I don’t think the majority is like that, which I think is all the more reason why no one needs to go on “defense” with them. If instead we surround ourselves with positive-acting people, we’ll be in the majority and that will drown out anyone’s negativity. It’s really all around the best way to deal with it, and, IMO, the only way to stay happy and sane.

      [A colleague of mine has a sign over her door that says, “Assume good intent.”]
      I LOVE that. Words to live by :)

      Thank you for your insight. You have a beautiful way of expression!

  12. I do think a lot of this stuff stems from jealousy. And of course, keyboard oneupmanship. There are an awful lot of anonymous Internet warriors out there and, of course, embittered folks who haven’t achieved as much as those they’re attacking. When you lack upward mobility, the easiest thing to do is to try to knock others down to your size.

    When you start getting older–and, goddamn it, I am–you start seeing the pointlessness of it all. How the days and nights and months seem to grow short. You’re absolutely right, Becca, when you say that it’s better to do something positive than to bother with sullen fools who try to get under our skin. Pretty soon, they’ll realize that they wasted precious time on petty antics. That or they’ll grow up to be the old woman who calls the state police because the neighbors mower drifted one wheel on her property.

    • Is it just me, or are people actually interesting when they get to that point? Still, I don’t want to grow old to be that person; I want to enjoy life and my family and friends and my Chinese food. In order to do that, I have to focus on those things. I think anyone who chooses to see people as friends (or not at all) instead of seeing people as enemies will overall be happier. I can’t imagine that lady reporting everyone is happy.

      Life is too short. I think I’m sort of hitting the point where I’m like . . . I need to make my time here COUNT for something.

      A person who consider other people to be their enemies CAN’T do that. Nor can a person who obsesses that someone sees THEM as the enemy. We’re freaking HUMAN–there MUST be more depth to us than that.

    • And hey, look at me finally “getting” what you’ve been trying to get through to me all along! :)

  13. Though I think the Hitler reference wasn’t entirely necessary, I do see your point. Spending time worrying about enemies or caring about haters is a waste of perfectly good life.

    • Thanks, Sarah! I see your point. I guess I just have these history lessons ingrained in my head and forget that it’s not common knowledge on top of being a sensitive subject, which can be a recipe for disaster. I am glad some people understood my point and the relevance, but I definitely apologize that others were offended or confused.

  14. For the record, under normal circumstances I’d have no dog in this particular fight, but seeing as how if it wasn’t for Rebecca and Rudy I would still be collecting enough rejection letters from the “Big 6” publishing houses to build my own parade float, the least I could do is offer my 5 cents here, on what seems to have become an unexpectedly heated subject.

    From what I read, Rebecca’s original missive appeared to be a well-written, uplifting treatise on the merits of maintaining not only a positive outlook in life, but more importantly keeping one’s own paradigm free and clear of negativity – both from internal and external sources.

    Somewhere in the original blogpost, Rebecca mentioned Hitler, and later on she referenced a scene or two from the movie “Mean Girls”, which if I’m not mistaken, starred Lindsay Lohan. There was one of those “Successories” motivational posters (The legit kind, not one of those ones where you see some chick flashing some topboob or a circus performer with his head wedged up an elephant’s ass or anything), and the overall message of the post, if I’m not mistaken, was something along the lines of “Not everybody is going to like what you have to say, but you can’t let that sort of thing get you down.”

    Apparently to some of you, Rebecca’s post was only slightly less incendiary than the idea that it’s perfectly okay to eat newborn infants, provided that they are orphans, since nobody’s going to miss them anyway. To be fair, I haven’t read all of Rebecca’s previous blog posts. I’ve read a lot of them, but not all. Perhaps I’m missing something, maybe there’s like a Dan Brown Da Vinci code thing where if you remove the 5th letter out of all of her anti-bullying campaign posts you get a white-supremacist manifesto.

    Or maybe a lot of you ought to just cool the fuck off if you don’t like what you see here sometimes. Yeah, Rebecca compared certain modern day egalitarian trends to the events that led to the Nazi uprising. She’s not running for political office, she’s a writer. It’s her job to make you think, and maybe to get under your skin. Looks to me like she succeeded today.

    Anyway, you rock Rebecca. I only hope I didn’t end up doing more harm than good by poking my ugly mug in here… Later, Will

    • Thanks for the support, Will, and for understanding my vision! And for not trying to actually decode my posts by removing every 5th letter :) I love you positive outlook–that in the end it makes people think. I think the majority understood my message, and I’m happy about that, but I’m also happy to clarify when something I said isn’t clear to others, just as I am happy to agree to disagree if that is what it comes down to. We all have our rights to an opinion and no one should feel silenced out of theirs. Going on the advice of a friend, however, it was suggested I only approve comments that spark health debate or conversation. Nothing here should be seen as anything bad, really. It’s all about focusing on the positive and choosing not to have enemies. So I accept everyone who has posted here and believe them all to have good intentions, and I appreciate those who were able to receive my message in the way I intended. I apologize to anyone who I came across to in a way other than I intended for sure. But mostly, I’m just glad to see people like you who keep good spirits about everything, and was so glad to see all the positive and encouraging discussion that resulted from this post.

  15. I read your blog post earlier, but didn’t have time to make a comment.

    I would like to say that this was an excellent post and I think your point came across quite clearly.

    I have seen the kind of hate and bullying that can go on and it often makes me very sad for both sides. The bully themselves, because they are so desperate to validate themselves, and for those being bullied who have to learn that some people deserve not a second thought.

    When I was in middle school, several of the ‘popular girls’ decided to pick on a friend of mine by spreading rumors that she was pregnant. This was at a time when teenage pregnancy was NOT the norm. She attempted to dispel the rumors, tried to defend herself against them. I wanted to help, but other than standing by her (which I did) I wasn’t sure what to do. So we went to my mother. Her response, “Make a joke out of it. Agree with them. They won’t know what to do if you don’t argue.”

    So the next day, when girls started asking her if she was pregnant and when she was due (in very snide voices) she quipped, “Any day now, with twins, can’t you tell.” The girls stared at her dumbfounded as to what to say next. A couple more days of that, and they left her alone.

    Bullying does happen. It isn’t up to the bullied to defend themselves against the actions of the bullies, but to find the strength within themselves to only acknowledge the positive in their lives.

    I have a strict rule about allowing toxic people into my life. If someone turns out to be toxic, I tell them that I’ve spent enough time in my life with them and I’m done now. And I mean it.

    I was never bullied, but then I am one of those people who doesn’t give a rat’s behind what people think of me. And if I don’t care what your opinion is of me, then what you say doesn’t matter (using ‘you’ in its generic form, not aimed specifically at anyone in particular).

    I think you brought up many great points in dealing with the psychology of bullies. Thank you for the wonderful post.

    • You are way more interesting than me! LOL Thank you for sharing you experience, and what a GREAT story to share (not that it happened, but the message, and also you just “told it” very well). This pots does turn out to be about two things. I had intended it to be about choosing not to see people as enemies, but after writing it and especially after comments, I see that it does address bullying as well.

      The bullying paradigm has shifted a lot over the years. Look at how people were bullied in the 80’s, the 90’s, etc, and then look at how people are bullied today! We can hardly come up with a solution before there’s a new way to bully.

      I think the number one message we can send is that it’s not “cool” to bully someone and that in the end, people who chose to have enemies will be lonely. The rest of us, even if things get tough, need to hang in there. I feel the worst for teens and kids who think they DON’T have anyone/anything positive in their lives to focus on, though. That’s actually the point of the Books Against Bullying campaign. I want to send the message that people DO care about them and that there ARE positive things in life, even if something you have to go searching for them.

      AD, you have a great heart and admirable traits for sure. I already had your book on my to-read list, before you ever commented here, and I’m all the more excited to read it because you really know how to keep even the most serious topics interesting. Thanks for sharing with us today!

  16. Thanks for this Becca. If something doesn’t kick up a discussion, then maybe it’s not worth sharing. Good on you.
    While I don’t believe that jealousy equals malice, I think sometimes people, especially when insecure, behave badly.
    As a journalist, I’ve had readers write me to tell me that I’m a “nut job,” etc. (In response to a review, a film distributor once told me: “You should attempt to veil your petty jealousy over not being nearly as kind, talented or beautiful as [actress].”)
    These people are not my enemies. That’s giving random strangers a lot of credit. Ahh, haters will hate. I leave it to karma. May they all get hemorrhoids. (Just kidding.)

    • Thanks for sharing, Wynne! You must be one rockin’ journalist :) And you are just as kind, talented, and beautiful as anyone I’ve met!!! I think insecurity leads to jealousy, or maybe envy is a better choice? but either way, I agree with you on the insecurity issue. I think that really is the core of it no matter how you look at it. So I think, for me, if I’m ever feeling insecure, I hope that I can recognize that and deal with it in a healthy way instead of calling other people my enemies. We all feel insecure sometimes. There is nothing wrong with feeling. It’s what you do with those feelings that will speak for you.

  17. As a writer, I see you working out a philosophy for living. You chew it over, and you express yourself in a very personal and vulnerable way, which is a part of what blogging is. A personal view into someone’s thoughts and feelings. This intimacy of thought is what makes reading blogs different from the end-result of an author’s fiction. I understand your post’s meaning, including your consideration of Hitler’s hornet nest of conflictive, world involvement. You are essentially expressing, that to pick up the intellectual sword and mentally clash with those who seek to embroil conflict, is to “call it on.” You wish to direct into the harmony of those you care about, and affect change throughout your own world, with those who matter to you. You express being acutely aware of the clashing world on-line and in the world-at-large, and you wish to disengage from the futility of fighting. I believe we manifest our own world, depending on what we focus on. It is true, ‘enemies’ materialize when one invests energy into their need, when they become aware that their conflict affects you. Interestingly, when you detach from their hungry hornet’s nest, their buzzing tends to just go away…looking for someone else who will be impressed with all their noise :)

    • Andre, I always admire the things you say. You have such a beautiful and intelligent way of expression, and you seem to always see the depth when it is there to be seen. You said, ” believe we manifest our own world, depending on what we focus on,” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s true :)

  18. Oh Becca, this is another inspiring post. I’d agree with Sarah here about the Hitler reference. :)

    In my opinion, yes it does come from jealousy but its also about acceptance. I have seen it and even tell it from my own experiences that it is so, there are many types of people who would be honey-tongued in your face and speak behind your back, some who you’d disagree with for something they sat that doesn’t seem right to you, like mocking someone who is helpless. Then the next thing is you get to be odd one out for standing up for what you felt right and become the subject of another mockery itself. And it doesn’t happen just in schools but all walks of life where you meet all different types of people. And yes, the best thing to do is brush it all off. It doedn’t sound so easy at times but trying always helps.

    I do the same, I know of those fake smiles that would back stab me once I turn my back, but I also know of those few genuine ones. And I love to spend my time not worrying about what they’d say cos its expected, and if they do have some extra time for all these,let them. I feel secure of knowing that I don’t have enough time for all the worries they might cause just by bringing what they do up, and that the ones I have given to friends and family and other things.

    And someday, if they come for your help, it’s strange but they always seem to, never shy away from helping. They are just ignorant. And being able to help people always brings a good feeling in you.

    I don’t know how life will go in the long run, but I do hope to be able to be able to spend most of the time of my life on friends and family and people I care about cos when I grow old I’d love to picture myself telling my grandchildren how I lived my life not how I wasted it. :)

    You have always been open about everything, Becca and I admire that in you.

    • Mini, you are wise beyond your years :)

      I agree with always helping people. There have been people in my life who once upon a time hated me, but in the end ended up being friends. And IMO, I don’t think it was that they were meanies and turned into nice people, but in THOSE cases I think it was more of a personality clash. They never treated me like they thought I was their enemy, they just didn’t like me. Hey, that’s allowed :) but in time they ended up liking me and we are friends now. Sometimes you just have to get to know a person. And with these people, I always knew they were good people, and would have thought so even if they never ended up liking me.

      What I mean to say is, I don’t think people have to “like” everyone. It’s okay not to mesh with someone. It’s okay if someone gets under your skin or makes you angry or if you think they’re an idiot. But if you are focusing on that and seeing them as your “enemy” that is when I think it gets unhealthy. I recommend choosing not to see people as your enemy and not paying attention if other people see you as theirs :)

      You are going to be a great influence on this world, Mini.

      • Exactly ! “Sometimes you just have to know a person” :) I have few of those those who didn’t like me in the beginning but through time, we became good friends. :)

        Right, I think so too. I won’t hide this but yes I do have people who I might not like much. I mean, who doesn’t ! :) But I don’t hate them or see thrm as an enmy. I guess, the whole point is about how we react to it, if we don’t react to it negatively and brush it off and not see it with hatred which brings the whole thing of holding someone as an *enemy* in the first place, it will save someone a lot of worry and time. Seeing someone as an enemy is never a healthy option in any case. :) Cos in one sense, the person one hold as an enemy may not evrn know that s/he is being held so, as we don’t tend to remember every single details of what we do in life, and who knows s/he must have long forgotten their deeds that could have hurt someone..We all grow up with time, ok, maybe some don’t. 😉 And boiling over something only bring harm to self and makes them lose a chance to be happy at lil or most moments of life. And if someone does see one as enemy and they know it, the best like you mentioned is always not to pay attention or say react, but send positive vibes that they find some peace to the mind and hopefully things get better………through time. :)

  19. Great post, Rebecca. I agree wholeheartedly. I barely have time to breathe, let alone give anyone who hates me ,or considers me their enemy, the time of day. In the end, I don’t expect everyone to like me. It’s okay.
    I was bullied as a young man. Its plain not going to happen to me as an adult.
    Keep up the great posts!

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