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Keep Your Enemies Closer

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Written by Vanessa Mutesi

“Keep your friends, and your enemies closer.” I have no idea where this saying started but I have heard it countless times, and I am sure you have to. We mostly tie an enemy as someone who is a nemesis, a rival, but never do tie it to the self. I have touched on this topic quite a few times when it comes to being aware of the self and how it affects the different areas of our lives. I am a person who is spiritual and not really religious, and recently I have been grappling with my relationship with God and especially how I felt I was not doing my part. As I was reflecting on all this, my prayer became centered around clarity. I wanted clarity to see what about me needed attention, clarity to see who is needed and not needed in my life, and clarity to see what my purpose and impact is supposed to be.

As this has and continues to be my prayer, it hit me that all this clarity I was asking for was going to result in a lot of growing pains. Pains that are and will be frustrating in the moment but in the long run, it brings me closer to feeling whole and complete in who I am. Over the past few weeks I have noticed how I repeatedly kept realizing small things that I did that either gaslighted my own feelings, or pushed necessary and difficult thoughts away into the back of my mind. In the moment of making these decisions, I felt that I was helping myself push forward and stay on top of things, but I was only making this list of clarities longer. I was thinking that by pushing these thoughts and feelings out of my mind, I was helping myself stay afloat and keeping the ball rolling, but I was only making it worse for myself because I was essentially saying “ignorance is bliss”.

It may sound like I am telling you to actively think about all the things your mind tells you about yourself, your feelings and your general headspace but I am not. I want you to ask yourself, how often do I push feelings or thoughts about myself to the side, just because it is too uncomfortable to deal with right there? How often do you avoid having all these difficult self-reflections?
Be brutally honest with yourself in looking at the things you tend to overlook, are they done out of the need to keep you in a good headspace, or they done to avoid the uncomfortable?

We tend to brush things under the rug expecting for the dirt to be compartmentalized, but in the end the dirt will accumulate and the carpet is going to be removed and cleaned.
So what am I getting at?

You are your biggest fan and biggest critic, and this means you’re also your own enemy. Be conscious of how the things you tend to push away are affecting you and accumulating. Be aware of the difficult thoughts and decisions you make about yourself, and be patient in the process. Be keen and ready to have difficult conversations with yourself.

At the end of the day, there is only one person you can blame for not being satisfied with your life, and that is YOU.