Frenemies Can be Useful, If You’re Willing To Change
I mean, seriously, change.
Sometimes people look at you and decide they hate you. And that's it. That perception doesn't change over time and across space and life goes on.
Other times people look at you and decide that they love you. And that's it. That perception doesn't change over time and across space and life goes on.
But most times, it is somewhere in between.
And this is where the drama between people arises, percolates and boils over in our lives and those of our families, friends and acquaintance networks. Gossip informs us regarding the most dramatic of these experiences and we cluck and bemoan human nature, quietly commiserating and perhaps silently thankful that we are currently not at the center of said gossip.
But if you ever have been, you know that it is never something you choose consciously. Events just seem to turn out that way as seemingly ponderous, remorseless and irresistible forces seem to collaborate in the coalescence of unfortunate series of events that lead invariably to often public and unseemly outbursts of petulance and ire.
It is said that there is a thin line between love and hate.
That family and friends hurt us more than strangers do. And these are true characterizations of intimate interrelationship. These are the interactions that lead to lifelong estrangement and deathbed regrets.
But between the demonstrable extremes of love and hate are the interactions that predominate. Those relationships nowadays typified by the term, "frenemies", or some approximate spelling thereof. People that straddle the boundary and with whom interaction is simultaneously interesting, passionate, challenging and vexing.
These are people you can go either way with.
And it often only takes one intense interaction for us to eventually choose which direction to take. Either to bring them in closer to our friendship network or to cast them out entirely.
Frenemies bring out the best and the worst in us. Something in them draws out something in us that is both alluring and maddening. You want to hug them and choke them at the same time. Love them and hate them. Kiss them and kick them.
What is it about these relationships that is so distressing and so often leads to public drama? Is it that their friends are our friends too? That there is a certain amount of passion and aggression that seems equal shared by you both? That your views always seem to be oppositional?
Or could it be, that these people represent a part of us that we would rather not own up too and claim? That the things they say and do are the things that we would say and do if our lives had been or were just a bit different? And they remind us of this with their very presence and overall existence?
Acknowledging what we think and how we feel is a major part of the awakening process. For some people, both are hard to do. For others, not so hard. The things we sometimes think may be personally or socially unacceptable. So the mind can repress the actual process of contemplation and self-analysis that others undergo automatically.
It is the same with feelings. Emotions can be roiling down beneath the surface thoughts in our minds and we can have absolutely no idea where they came from unless we have committed to the practice of mind control. Monitoring our thoughts. Ruminating and dwelling for the purpose of excising negativity and self-defeating cyclical mind chatter.
It is possible. But still, it is a process. And it is doubtful that our frenemies are engaged in a similar process. It then becomes incumbent upon us to engage in another practice that sees expression in a Tibetan mind control tradition - among many other spiritual traditions and places in different forms - called Lojong.
Taking responsibility. Driving all blame into one. Being responsible for situations that we may not even believe that we are at fault for! By doing so, we are able to take control of our mental and emotional bodies and project the course of relationships beyond how we feel about them. Taking the higher view and seeing the world and our lives through Heaven's eyes.
By commiting to personal psychological evolution, we transcend the types of emotional travails that often end in public displays of negative emotion. While we cannot control others and the tales they may share about their interactions with us and our characters, we can and should be able to control ourselves.
Our thoughts. Words. Actions.
That is what real maturity looks like. Let the frenemies do what they do. Heal the wound in you that they activate. Once you commit to rarifying your interpersonal relations and being the love you wish to see in the world your circle of souls does so as well and negative influences of this particular nature decrease in their active interference in your life.
Art by CalamityChemist