What is a nemesis teacher? A person or thing which brings out in you that which you don’t like. Politicians and celebrities are often the vectors for this (no, I am really not just talking about Scott Walker or Rush Limbaugh). They seem to embody, or at least espouse, those things that you feel are “wrong”. They are people or experiences that you do not want to include in your personal reality. They also have a way of being insistent enough to grab your attention!
Now you know that to put your attention on them simply gives them more power to disrupt your balance, but it seems impossible not to pay attention, so what do you do? It behooves me at this point to put out a reminder that it is far easier (Really! Or at least it will be) and more beneficial to distract yourself with something that you already feel good about, but that takes a lot of practice. Meanwhile, find something to be grateful to your Nemesis Teacher for. Really.
For example, that politician has powerfully drawn people’s attention to how the democratic process should work, what accountability should look like, what integrity really means. That celebrity has caused us to value what he has put down with his name-calling tactics, has given us the opportunity to play with it in a humorous fashion. It has pointed up what we really want by comparison to what we don’t want.
I used to tell my kids that if you really can’t find any other reason to be grateful to a nemesis teacher, tell yourself, “I’m so glad I’m not you!” (over time this has morphed into, “I’m so glad I am who I am”, but the other version has more punch because it tickles your funny bone. Sometimes there’s a lot of relief to be had in being kinda mean in private!)
The Nemesis Teacher can be a person or an experience (being locked out of the house with the groceries and a busy agenda, for example) and it is what Abraham refers to as “contrast”. The word “contrast” is a non-judgmental way of looking at it and points up the fact that it is a contrast to what you want, thereby gently suggesting that inherent in the situation is an understanding of what you DO want.
So, if you are locked out of the house with the groceries and a to do list as long as your arm, what good does it do you to know that what you really want is to get inside and do your stuff? Well, I admit that this part is kinda tricky. The truth is that you need to identify the bit about what you want to feel, not the circumstances. What you can’t change IS, so set about changing what you can change–your feelings about it.
“So, I’ve done what I can to get someone with a key to let me in. Now how can I make this an experience I’m OK with? It’s cold enough to keep the groceries from spoiling, yet warm enough that I won’t freeze. If I wanted to, I could probably get invited into a neighbors for awhile if I do get too cold. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone with a key comes faster than I expect. The sky show is pretty amazing, and anything I wanted to do will still be there to do when I get to it. This will be funny later. It’s a little bit funny now. Every thing will be okay. ”
Who’s happier, Pooh or Eeyore? It’s up to you which one you choose to spend your time and energy to be.