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Joseph Stevens - Enemies (1854)

What It Means to Keep Your Enemies Closer

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” We’ve heard it all before, but what does that really mean? It’s definitely a philosophical quote that doesn’t have much meaning until you actually experience what it means. At first inclination, the quote might mean to keep tabs on your enemy in hopes to exact your revenge, but it’s actually not the case.

Even if you don’t realize it, we have a lot of enemies in our life. It could be the bully when you were in grade school, or the vengful ex who made you endure a long, hard relationship. The more you deal with the enemies in your life, the more you start to brush them off as insignificant. You realize the power of karma and start to forgive those who’ve wronged you because carrying the weight of discontent isn’t going to make you any better. You forgive the bully because without him, you wouldn’t have had the hard shell to get through the rest of school with all the other disappointments. You forgive your ex because even though the relationship was hard, you now know the characteristics you don’t want, and let’s be real… the sex was great.

Keeping your enemies closer simply means to forgive, but don’t forget. Forgive them because they may be insecure or secuming to the pressures of society. You have no clue what they are going through, but you know who you are, and you can rise above that.

Throughout your life, you will continue to make friends, and you will continue to make enemies. Those will confidence will not care about the actions of others because they are self aware. An open-minded person will tolerate another person based on their point of view, even if that point of you is a hindrance.

Always remember that our greatest lessons comes from our worst experiences. Treat your enemies like a force that builds character. They will also allow you to show empathy to someone who is going through the same trouble. As much we call our enemies, enemies, they’ve shaped who we are today. So when we say keep your enemies closer, what we really mean is keep them close as a reminder of who’ve you are and how they’ve made you stronger.