You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill
What does that mean?
This quote is about enemies, and one of the ways you accumulate them. Specifically, this quote talks about getting enemies by taking a stand for something. Standing for something tends to annoy those who stand against that thing, and usually means that you have generated some animosity at a minimum, and (at most) an enemy (or enemies, as the case may be).
This quote is a stated in a congratulatory manner, as the author of the quote considers having enemies as a badge of honor. It is considered the logical result of standing for something in today’s world, which the author values quite highly. So, what have you stood for in your life, and how many enemies have you accumulated in the process?
Why is standing for something important?
How many people do you know who are squishy, who will not stand for something? Please note there is a difference between not wanting to talk about politics, religion or other sensitive topics. I’m talking about people who can’t seem to make a decision, or will support whatever the most influential (or scariest) person in the room says they are in favor of.
Another word for a person like that is a wind-sock, as they go which ever way the wind blows. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s much of a way to live. Standing for something (or several somethings) is part of defining of who you are and what you believe. If you don’t stand for anything, what does that say about who you are and what you believe?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Think about the things you care about in your life. People, concepts, principles, beliefs, or other things or ideas that mean something to you. Something that you would be willing to lose a friend (or even make an enemy) over.
Grab some paper and start a list. I hope you can get at least a few things down on paper. If it helps, make a graduated list, with different levels of intensity for each section on the list. How is the list looking? Are there things on it you would die to protect? How about go bankrupt or go to jail in order to protect or defend?
How easily do you think you could end up with people disliking you, or even declaring themselves your enemy over these issues? For some issues, like family, you might have to think back to Capulet and Montague to get there, but for many other issues, it should be fairly easy to see how you could seriously annoy some people, right?
Now, don’t get confused. I’m not in favor of people going out and making mortal enemies because of this quote. The point is to find out what you truly stand for. Hopefully, you can explain your point sufficiently well that others who disagree with your conclusion will not feel a need to become your enemy.
So, how can you take a stand and not make people your enemy? I would try to explain your side, and then ask them to explain theirs. If you focus on understanding them, and not on scoring points, you will likely be able to at least agree to disagree on the topic. If all you are doing is trying to score points, you will probably have a harder time keeping them as a friend, right?
If you list was a bit light, I imagine it’s because you haven’t spent much time thinking about the question. You might want to think about the things that matter to you. What would make life unbearable if you were to lose it? What are you willing to dedicate yourself to protecting?
For some, one such thing might be a person or a pet. What about concepts, ideas or ideals? Would you stand firmly for freedom, for liberty, or for justice? For everyone, or just those you care about? That might be something else to think about, wouldn’t it?
I’m not advocating making enemies, and if you have some, I would recommend trying to work things out. But you have to stand for something, and your job is to find those things, and defend them.
"Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place." -- Jeremiah 22:3