The Girl Whisperer
as published in Guardian 'Life'
Sunday 21st October
Sleeping With The Enemy
An acquaintance of mine told me of his life-governing philosophy only a few days ago. According to him, this philosophy, which is steeped in deep-core African tradition, says that there are four sets of people in the world. The first set are those who tell their Maker- “I am off to the world to do good and great things”. The second set resolves to come to the world to prevent the first set from achieving its aim, while the third comes to the world to help the first in reaching its goals. The fourth set simply says, “I’m off to the earth to watch all these things unfold”. A bit simple, you might say, but a close study would show that nearly everyone you know falls into, at least, one of these broad categories.
At some point or the other in our lives, we all have met with people we are firmly convinced have no other purpose in life than to block our progress, stop our happiness or stem our joy. There must be some people nodding in agreement with me at this point and calling up vivid memories of such ‘blockers’, but the oddity that is life often shows itself in different ways. It is not all intimate relationships or marriages that are between friends or lovers. Sometimes, we become ensconced with people we are certain do not mean us well while at other times, it seems we have placed the reins of our lives in the hands of observers who will not lift a hand to help, if, God forbid, we are to fall.
How can you start a relationship with someone who is not your friend or does not love you, you might ask. It is quite possible. I stand to be corrected that the pummelling of a partner does not qualify as a relationship between friends or lovers. You don’t thrash your best friend from time to time, do you? Yet, cases abound. I’ll ignore all the sado-masochists who tell themselves they get kicked around because they deserve it. A lack of support in your passion or life’s work is also a pointer to a serious situation.
You must find a partner who has come to do good and great things or is willing to help in the achievement of these good and great things. Becoming an item with a joy-blocker, for want of a better word, may be the end of all you ever aspired for. There is nothing more wearisome to the spirit than having a relationship with, or living in the same house with a grey cloud.
If you are entangled with someone whose single-minded obsession and mission in life, appears to be to quash whatever satisfaction you might seek to derive from life; you must find the formula to negotiate the rocky terrain that these people make themselves on the route to your happiness. It is a blessed person who is in love with his or her friend.
If you are convinced you are sharing a bed with the enemy, a head-on-collision might not be the best way to correct the situation. Do not forget there are many times when it takes more courage not to react than to react.
On the other hand, if we are fortunate enough to come to a point where we come across those whom we consider helpful on the way to fulfilment, it is a great place to relax and rest. There are many helpful beings out there, and being sensitive when we meet others, will reveal these people to us. We must never forget that not all that is gold glitters, and often, the shine of the diamond is not noticed because it is covered in mud.
It is best to ignore the fourth category, that is, those who come to watch things happen, when you meet them. If you ignore those who are determined to steal your joy, however, and get lured into relationships that might become permanent, you do so at your own peril. It is a wise man who never turns his back on his enemies, remembering the adage that says, if you place your life in the hands of those who do not like you, you mortgage your future.