Personal Development: Beloved Enemy


Personal Development: Reetika Gupta-Chaudhary suggests we look towards our enemy for inspiration on our road to success.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life,” Winston Churchill.

Our lives are made up of many different characters – there is a hero, a mentor, a friend and an enemy. I am going to focus on our enemy, an enemy who challenges us and whom we have to fight against in order to achieve our share of success.

Many of the personal development books that I have read have taught me an important lesson: that if someone’s motivation or enthusiasm is low, an enemy/resistance is all they need to lift them from that state. I learnt to value my enemies as these are the people who have actually motivated me to shake off my fears and take charge of my life.

You might be wondering where in our normal lives do we find these enemies? Well, these could be just about anyone. For some, their enemy might be an aggressive office colleague or state laws hampering their business growth. For some others it could be a boss who is constantly on top of you and misses no opportunity to put you down when you make a mistake. Hang on! What about that friend who silently is your biggest competitor?

My next question for you to consider is: could you possibly be your own biggest enemy? The answer is Yes. In most situations we are our own bottleneck and stop ourselves from success because of our own fears and doubts.

In my case, my enemy was my father – the challenge of raising even a small voice against his wishes kept me far away from my comfort zone. Very early in my life, I had realized that I will have to fight against the very orthodox mindset of my father in order to have even the slightest chance of realizing my dreams. My father had very different goals and aspirations for ‘my life’. He wanted a safe and comfortable life for me, whereas I was ambitious and always wanted a financially independent life.

My father’s idea of a good life was for meto sit at home and enjoy the luxuries provided to me by the men in my life (at that time that man was my father and later it would be my rich husband).

As a child, I was told that I could only complete basic education before my father would find a wealthy man and get me married. Frankly, the thought of getting married and be dependent on my husband was not only scary but also emotionally sickening. I never doubted my father’s intentions, which were nothing but good to his way of thinking. But it was equally evident that his protective ways were stopping me from achieving my dreams.

I struggled along and persisted in my efforts to study hard and achieve my goal,
which at that time was to secure admission to one of the prestigious universities and get a well-paying job. I wanted to make my own decisions and be responsible for my own destiny. With a burning desire to succeed, my determination amplified with every inch of resistance and challenge that I faced.

My own father was standing firm, blocking my dreams, but little did he know that the more he tried to censor my dreams, the stronger the force became with which I fought back. The constant fear of my father thwarting my efforts and thereby preventing me from achieving my dreams made me more persistent and doubly motivated.

As a result of my keen efforts and hard work not only did I pass my exams but I was also the top scorer in my city. Newspapers approached me for my photograph as they wanted to publish my achievements. To my utter surprise I noticed my father proudly flaunting my achievements to his friends.

Now, the next challenge of presenting my desire to pursue higher education from a prestigious college outside of my city stared me in the face. As soon as I stated my desire to live away from home, a state of panic gripped my father as he was concerned about my safety and was uncomfortable with my ambitions. But he certainly was moved by my dedication and hard work and reluctantly consented to my idea of pursuing higher education.

This was a huge win for me, I went to college and continued to follow my dreams despite all the challenges offered by life. My father continued with his notion of getting me married and even met a few prospective grooms. Luckily, none fitted his own bill, and I didn’t let any of that distract me. I concentrated wholeheartedly on my studies and managed to secure a place in one of the top universities for Master’s in Journalism in India. Once again, seeing my determination and persistence, my father had to allow me to pursue my Master’s.

We have all been in similar situations, we hate the feeling of someone standing in the way of our dreams. The harsh reality of our own loved ones standing in the way of your dreams is not easy to digest. However, identifying your enemy and the challenges posed by them can actually help you to tap into some of your strongest emotions which you can use to propel yourself forward in life.

Looking back, I would probably not have been able to do any of that if it wasn’t for the inspiration – albeit in the form of resistance – provided to me by my ‘beloved enemy’, my father.

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