As the saying goes, we should keep our friends close and our enemies closer. Most of us don’t like the idea of having enemies- it sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? However, there are always people in our lives that we don’t get along with, and we might even consider to be a personal enemy of ours.
Enemies cause stress, pain, and anger. We spend so much time hating them that we forget to care for ourselves and for the people around us who do love us.
If you want to make your enemies into friends, here are a few ways to make that happen.
You might ask yourself why you should make an effort to regain the trust and friendship of someone you don’t like. This is less about them, and more about you creating peace and balance in your life. The cost of being angry with someone else is much higher than the peace you get when there is forgives and light in your life.
- Practice honesty. Be honest with yourself and your enemy about what happened that made you dislike each other in the first place. Oftentimes this turns out to be a major misunderstanding that is easily cleared up. If not, you can both discuss what happened and why it made you feel the way it did. This can clear the air and make you both feel heard, validated, and accepted.
- Practice forgiveness. Forgiving another person doesn’t mean you excuse what they did- it just means that you are willing to put the past aside and move forward with your own life. You both have to forgive one another so that you can move forward in peace, together. This requires both of you to lay down your anger.
- Practice accountability. When you meet with your enemy, recognize that there were likely things you did wrong in that relationship as well. You aren’t perfect, and you might have glossed over some of your mistakes in an effort to make yourself feel better. Don’t reject the story they tell; accept that you may have hurt them just like they hurt you. Be accountable for your actions and words.
- Practice openness. In some cases, you and your enemy just don’t get along. We don’t have to like everyone we meet, nor do we have to be friends with them. However, we do need to be polite and civil to those we interact with. If you really do want to make amends with your enemy, realize that compromise between the two of you will be needed
- Practice letting go. Burying the hatchet is easier said than done, but it isn’t impossible. Use the weapons of your conflict with your enemy to create peace; lay down your words and your behavior to create a better relationship with one another. Make peace and keep that peace intentionally.
Life isn’t simple, and peoples’ relationships with one another can be rocky and complicated. Even though this is true, there are still ways that you can make your enemies into your trusted friends. Isn’t that a better way to spend your time and emotional energy?