Our enemies are our biggest teachers

The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama is one of my favorite books. There is so much wisdom in there and it is easy to read for a non-Buddhist. One of the concepts I appreciated was that our enemies are our biggest teachers. We enjoy spending time with people we get along with easily, who we find fun, entertaining, and who bring us spontaneous joy. However, we don’t learn as much by spending time with people who agree with us and are easy to get along with. We don’t grow as much. It is those who we find challenge us, those we challenge us to dig deep to find compassion, patience, or tolerance help us to become better people. Think about your child throwing a tantrum, a “difficult” patient, a demanding boss, an MA who isn’t doing what you think she should, or even an inefficient Electronic Health Record. These situations challenge us, yet they challenge us to grown.So the next time you feel irritated, annoyed, frustrated, you can just tell yourself that there is a lot of learning and growing happening.Every time I am at work and I start to feel really annoyed, I just try to ask myself, “What is this here to teach me?” or “What can I learn from this?”. Even if the answer is just I can learn that I don’t like working in a hectic environment or I don’t like being in a situation where I am interrupted often, I find I learn more about myself, who I am right now, and what I want to create more or less of in my life every time I am irritated. See if you can find what you can learn from the situation or person next time you are irritated.