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5 EnemiesI recently returned from a very interesting holiday in Myanmar (formerly Burma). It was fascinating in so many ways, including the many visits to amazing Buddhist temples that pervade the countryside and cities where I travelled.

At one pagoda there were a series of statements surrounding a structure in the courtyard and one of them said ‘May You Be Free From Five Enemies’. The picture here shows the writing in English and Burmese. I smiled when I saw this, and at the woman beside me who asked, ‘what if you have 6 enemies?’ In any case, I felt like the saying came as a reminder that my next blog would be due shortly after my return – and here was a perfect topic!

So, as you contemplate whether you believe you have enemies and who they are, consider the following etymology and definition for enemies:

The etymology of the term enemy is from Latin language for ‘bad friend’ (Latin: inimicus). As for definitions, there were several, including that an “enemy or foe is an individual or group that is seen as forcefully adverse or threatening”. And, an enemy is “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent”.

Here are this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) on this topic:

  • If you believe you have enemies, who are they (by name)?
  • For what reasons do you consider each of these people enemies?
  • Do they know you consider them enemies?
  • If you answered ‘yes’ to the above question, how do they know?
  • If you answered ‘no’ to the same question, what do they NOT know about why you view them as enemies?
  • What do you like about being enemies with these people? What don’t you like about it?
  • Which one(s) of these people would you rather not be enemies with, if any?
  • Why do you feel that way about the people you referred to in your response to the above question?
  • How might you interact differently with the people you don’t want to be enemies with to improve the relationship? What specifically might you say or do?
  • What other shifts in your thinking or feelings may you make to rebuild the relationships with those with whom you’d rather not be enemies?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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