Day 3 – Appreciate Your Adversaries

 

Welcome to the Day 3 of our Gratitude Challenge! After yesterday’s reflection on the place and meaning of gratitude in your life, today we have a more specific task, the one that will probably put you on the test.

Appreciate your adversaries!

We all have them. Our adversaries are people we dislike, people who we think are better/worse than us, people we don’t like to see or talk to, people who make us feel not-so-great about ourselves, for whatever reason. A naysayer cousin, an opportunistic coworker, a grumpy spouse, a beautiful friend, a manager who makes our life difficult…

For whatever reason, some people we just don’t like to be around, but they’re present in our mind – and in the worst possible way: they’re those we resist. We can resist their influence or their presence, but they affect us nevertheless. Adversaries exist in all areas of our life, and sometimes we may feel that their only purpose of existence is to annoy us…

You probably already know who your adversary is (did you have the A-ha! moment a row or two up?) – think about him or her today.

Because today is when you’ll work on accepting them!

And Here Are Three Great Reasons Why You Should Do This

Of course, we enjoy our positive relationships – they make us feel loved and appreciated, they help us grow and be better. But those other relationships serve their purpose as well. So the first reason to accept your adversary, whoever he or she is, would be:

  1. To discover the purpose they have in your life. This opposite force makes us uncomfortable – and why is that? Do we feel less capable, less worthy, do we envy their success…? If so, then why do we feel so bad around them? The reason why you aren’t a fan of a certain person is in you, not in them – it’s always in your perception of them. No matter how annoying someone is, you can choose to listen and react to the things s/he says or does, or not to be affected by it. Your choice right now is to be affected – and that’s because deep down it reflects something that bugs you about yourself. When you pinpoint the reason why you’re so affected, you’ll learn more about yourself (and it will probably be something you don’t want to admit – but it’s the first step to healing).
  2. To become free. Like it or not, you’re now slave to your perception of your adversary: you involuntarily react to him or her and every meeting or conversation with them probably leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Don’t you want to get rid of that feeling?
  3. To focus on the positive side. That’s right – just switch your focus.

Nobody asks you to become BFFs with this person – just free yourself from that bad feeling in your gut, and accept them as part of your life.

Your Task for Today

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Write down at least three things you appreciate about your adversary!

Even if you hate to admit it, your adversary must have some traits you can appreciate – and one of them could be the fact that s/he exists. We can use the existence of these people in our lives to identify what actually bugs us about ourselves and to work to improve it – and that’s something to be grateful for, isn’t it?

If your adversary is an opportunistic coworker, you could appreciate his ambition, the fact that he’s good at what he does, his confidence…

If it’s a nay-saying cousin, perhaps she’s smart and realistic, or she has other qualities completely unrelated to the reason why she annoys you – she could be a great mother, or family-centered, or…

There are always nice things you can find in others if you could just see them – so choose to see them and focus your attention to these things. Then your resistance will slowly melt away, and you’ll be more at peace with yourself – and with them.

Add this to your gratitude journal along with other things you’re grateful for today.

And please share your reflections in the comments!

Without naming them, share one thing you appreciate about your adversary. Do it now!