Gratitude Challenge Day 5: Identify 3 Things to Appreciate about Your Adversary

This is Day 5 of the 14-Day Gratitude Challenge held in Aug 2013, where we practice gratitude for 14 days. The challenge is now over but you can do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all the challenge tasks.

Gratitude challenge

 Hey everyone, welcome to Day 5 of our 14-day gratitude challenge! :D Let’s get started, shall we?

Day 5: Adversary

Bar magnet

Adversary, n. — a person, group, or force that opposes or attacks; opponent; enemy; foe.

Adversaries. Do you have one?

An adversary is anyone who is an opposing force to you in life.

In the area of friendship, perhaps it’s that “friend” who seems to have the nastiest things to say to you.

In your family, perhaps it’s a parent, sibling, or relative who naysays everything you want to do.

In romantic relationships, it may be that ex whom you had such a terrible, on-again, off-again relationship for the longest time and was only able to get out of after much struggle. It might be your husband/wife/partner who did you wrong and caused your failed marriage/relationship.

In the area of work, it may be a colleague or your manager who is making things hard for you in your job.

In business, it might be your arch-competitor who seems to be ahead of you in every way and making it difficult for you to succeed.

And in terms of transient encounters, perhaps it’s the rude woman whom you met at the metro last week, who pushed you and didn’t even say sorry. It may even be the waiter who was unbelievably rude even though you were expecting good service.

Adversaries exist in all areas of our lives, be it in relationships, work, business, or just day-to-day living. I can think of many people who were opposing to me in different phases in life.

When I was in primary school, I had this good friend who turned out to have badmouthed me in the later years of our friendship–a common friend told me and I distanced myself from her thereafter. In secondary school and junior colleges, I had schoolmates who were highly competitive with me in the area of academics. In my corporate career, I had a colleague who was very competitive and would take my ideas for her campaigns every here and there. In relationships, I had this fairly recent toxic pseudo-friendship which burned me for a while before I finally cut the person off. Then in my business, there are more blogs today than ever in the online landscape which makes it harder to gain the web surfer’s attention and expand your web presence.

While most of us celebrate our positive relationships, adversaries serve a role in our life too, even though this role may not be apparent on first sight. Just as natural dualities like light and dark, hot and cold, fire and water, life and death, female and male, and north and south (poles) exist as complementary rather than opposing forces, adversaries exist in our life as a complementary force to personal growth and success too. (Think Charles Xavier and Magneto in X-men, or Bruce Willis’ and Samuel L. Jackson’s characters in the movie Unbreakable.)

Whoever your adversaries are, they is/are there for a purpose–be it to help us to learn, grow, and/or succeed in life. The ability to appreciate your adversaries is crucial to a life of flow, oneness, and success.

Today, your task is to appreciate your adversary!

Your Task: Identify 3 Things to Appreciate about Your Adversary

  1. Think of at least one person who used to be/is an opposing force in your life today. This person can be a childhood-friend-turned-enemy, a friend/social contact you secretly dislike, a family member, an ex-lover, a workplace colleague, business competitor, an acquaintance you dislike, etc. If you can think of more, even better!
  2. Identify 3 things to appreciate about this person. For example, if I think about a business acquaintance whom I’m not a fan of due to his unauthenticity, I realized 3 things to appreciate are: (a) He is highly successful in his domain, which is by no means due to luck, (b) He is highly opportunistic, and (c) He is diligent and family-centered, which are good values. These three things are all things I can learn from.
  3. Share your reflections in the comments section!

Daily Journaling: Write 3 Things You Are Grateful for Today

On top of today’s task, identify 3 things you are grateful for today. These 3 things can be events that occurred today, mishaps which could have happened but didn’t happen, or simply things which have always been in your life but which you suddenly came to feel grateful for today.

3 things I’m grateful for today:

  1. Was miraculously able to flag down a cab this evening which helped me and Ken to make it in time for our second engagement shoot! If we didn’t get the cab, our photographers would probably have left having waited for us in vain, especially since this was our first meetup.
  2. Encountered a really rude Italian waiter at this restaurant, Bar Napoli, which made me appreciate the great and polite servers I’ve encounter before!
  3. The huge sink and mirror in the kitchen (not sure why there is a mirror there) of the rented apartment I’m staying in Edinburgh right now. Makes for easy face washing! (The smallness of the bathroom makes it near-impossible to wash up there.)

Plus one more!

  1. The awesomeness of my Edinburgh engagement photographers. Joanna is an absolute sweetheart and such a people person–she really does her best to understand your needs and executes them wherever possible. Look forward to writing about her in more detail when the engagement shots are out!

Share Your Results!

Who is the “adversary” you have identified?

What are 3 things to appreciate about him/her?

What are 3 things you are grateful for today?

Please share in the comments section! :)

Once you’re done, proceed to Gratitude Challenge Day 6: Give Thanks for Your Life.

(Images: Gratitude, Bar magnet)