Monday, August 22, 2011

The Arch-Nemesis

How many arch-nemeses are on your list? How do you respond to their presence in your life?

Sometimes they can be used as motivators - in competition - competing against the same person year after year, using the interaction to hone game strategy and skill.

Other times they kick you where it hurts, and the way to solution is unclear, especially when in social setting.

It is possible to view an arch-nemesis as an external representation of the stuff that's hard to process internally. Instead of putting on the inner-vision blinders and pretending that the issues aren't there, the arch-nemesis provides live action proof that there is work to be done as long as the hurt stays active. These people are reminders that we do not live in a bubble.

Part of inter-relating is figuring out how to turn these conflict-oriented connections into something more productive. Did the arch-nemesis interaction highlight personal feelings of anger or reactivity or rejection or betrayal? How does the arch-nemesis likely feel in all of this? How is it easier to handle the person out there than the inner feelings of both parties?

Why is this even a topic in a fitness blog?

Its really about preventing derailment. Its about maintaining clear perspective. Its about allowing the things that are beyond control to exist while still being effective.

Arch-nemeses show up. They are going to be there. Flowery forgiveness is not often viable, especially when intuition warns against it. Arch-nemeses are some of the best indicators that we have a pulse, and are on a powerful trajectory.  Arch-nemeses assure us that we are interacting in the world, and help to alleviate the fear of offending people or making enemies, because they already fulfill that role. They keep us honest. 


  1. Believe it or not, this makes me think of the Baghavad Gita. The story of Krishna and Arjunna and the premise that our greatest battles (arch nemeses) are often with the things we love the most (our sacred cows). If we want to avoid derailment, there's no room for flowery forgiveness or even an ounce of compassion towards these nemeses.

  2. I love that take on it Janet, thank you!