enemy; overanalyze; okay: mind; difference; mental health; #thatkenoshajournalist; daniel thompson

Mental Health Moment: Let go of enemies, embrace critics

Today, I’m encouraging you to do something that most people would flat out refuse to do: I encourage you to wish your enemy/enemies well. 

Now, before you add me to the list of your enemies for my suggestion, let me explain.

If you need a few minutes to calm down from a little stress, this video should be useful to you.

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Your enemy is the hero of their own story

Let me start with one very obvious truth: No one sees themselves as the villain of their story. 

No matter what actions they take, no matter the words that come out of their mouth, they will never see themselves as villainous. 

Because no matter what you do, you will always be the “hero” of your life in your own mind. 

While this is a bewildering thing to witness in-person, it is how we humans seem to get by. 

Blame for others’ actions

Now, I have had my fair share of “enemies” in life. 

In my career as a journalist, I could not tell you how many people I’ve upset by writing stories about things they’ve done. Mostly, those people have done things that have led to legal or social ramifications. 

Now, whenever there have been complaints, I’ve, of course, double checked my facts and made sure that I did not make a mistake I needed to correct. 

In the case that I did not, I always tried to be understanding with the people who were upset with me. 

Because I learned early on into my career that their anger wasn’t about me. It was about the mistake they made or the crime they committed being known. 

And the truth is, it’s entirely their issue. They made the decisions that led to the event I wrote about. 

What they’re doing is taking their anger at themselves out on me. Unfortunately, plenty people do that to other people in this world. 

Your enemy’s attention is more about them than you

The same goes when someone personally attacks you.

I find that most times someone attacks me on a professional or personal level, the problem lies with them and not me. 

It’s not what I’m doing that bothers them; it’s that I’m doing the same thing as them, and therefore, somehow competition seeps in. 

This becomes clear when you encounter a critic whose want to write about you precedes any newsworthy event sparking it. 

Quite simply, these are the people that come out of nowhere every once in a while to try to knock you down just to see you down.

Does that sound like your problem?

Now, when do you have any responsibility to react to their words or actions against you?

The answer: You don’t have any responsibility to. 

In no aspect of that situation are you really part of that conversation. You’re being talked at, not with. There’s no conversation, growth or meaningful self-reflection that can come from it. 

Because it’s driven by anger, not any desire to see you correct yourself and grow. 

Truth is, I love thoughtful criticism

Here’s the thing: I love criticism that forces me to be better. 

I love it when I find someone who pushes me to up my game or to rethink how I go about things just as a person in the world.

Because real criticism ⏤ criticism that has a true point ⏤ is the most effective thing in helping us change our ways at times. 

Sometimes, it truly takes an outside perspective to see where we’ve gone off the rails. 

Wise critics are always more important to have in your life than bitter enemies. 

Wish your enemy/enemies well

In saying all that, I encourage you to simply wish your enemies well ⏤ especially those who seem to only sling dirt on everyone they encounter. 

I call these people “diggers” personally. All they seem to do is dig for dirt on people, every day. They’re never being constructive in any way. Their obsession is simply exposing the negative parts of people. And they look miserable all the time.

Quite simply, some people just want to throw dirt on your name so it doesn’t shine so much brighter than theirs. 

However, I also encourage you to find the critics in your life that you trust. They are the ones who agree with you when you’re really right, and they will let you know very clearly when you’re wrong. 

Because those people keep you on the right path. 

They are the ones who can point out things in us we need to change to have a better life. Their criticism is an invitation to be better. And it’s given without malice, just straight to the point. 

Criticism has served me well

I have grown so much from opening myself up to my wise critics. I have grown from finding people I trust in my community who build me up when I’m doing right and who will sit me down and tell me in detail when I’m going the wrong way. 

People I’m not even friends with have pulled me back from going one step too far over and over again. Because they have approached me as a thoughtful critic. They’ve taken time to actually listen to me and go back and forth with things.  

In those discussions, it’s always become clear that they wanted me to be better more than they wanted to ever tear me down. That’s how they were able to reach me. 

It is my hope that by simply wishing your enemies well and, instead, embracing your true critics that you’ll see the same growth I have. 

I hope you embrace the people in your life who may be critical but are trying to build you up.  

And I also hope you let go of the words of those who simply want to see you destroyed.


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EP 14: Do what you can Inside the Mind of Daniel Thompson

In this episode, I talk about how changing ones area of focus can make the difference between meaningfully addressing an issue or just giving up on trying to entirely. — Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/mind-of-daniel-thompson/support
  1. EP 14: Do what you can
  2. Ep. 13: The problem of being overly positive
  3. Ep. 12: 'Where have you been?'
  4. Ep. 11: 'Framing and Sobriety'
  5. Ep. 10: 'Loneliness is part of life.'

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