Do not give your adversaries the means to destroy you

When I was a kid,  my cousin and I used to take turns reading Aesop’s fables to each other. All of the short stories had a moral, such as “misery loves company” and it is amazing how many of them still apply in today’s modern world.

As I have been working through my anger lately, this particular fable resonated with me:

A Man came into a Woods one day with an axe in his hand, and begged all the Trees to give him a small branch which he wanted for a particular purpose. The Trees were good-natured and gave him one of their branches. What did the Man do but fix it into the axe head, and soon set to work cutting down tree after tree.

Moral of Aesop’s Fable: Then the Trees saw how foolish they had been in giving their enemy the means of destroying themselves.

There are many ways in which I can give someone permission to treat me poorly. I am working on learning to set boundaries and to focus on protecting myself from destructive people. I may not always understand what motivates someone to act as they do. I try to be understanding about their point of view and at the same time realize that I don’t need to make another person’s problems mine.

5 thoughts on “Do not give your adversaries the means to destroy you

  1. I didn’t see that coming! I’m a tree sometimes. I too would have given a branch without realizing what it meant. However, the scar the chopping would leave on me would have taught me a lesson about someone asking for my branches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I try to be understanding about their point of view and at the same time realize that I don’t need to make another person’s problems mine.”

    This can be very challenging. It’s what I struggle with currently. Let’s just say that after hearing about someone’s difficulties, I often have a reaction that is so strong, and often extreme, that I end up being more angry than the person dealing with those problems!

    A good example would be at my former job. A coworker had worked on this project for months, and for a particular reason, it didn’t fall through. He was disheartened, but I poked my nose into the matter more than I should have (he did tell me about his frustrations, but I felt that I myself had to do something to address his issues). I grew into a pretty embittered person and eventually, an unpleasant colleague. I got suspicious of other people and increasingly judgmental of their capabilities. I could do my job well, but my attitude and behavior affected me professionally for some time.

    My coworker expressed his concern over my tendencies to become overly involved in other people’s problems. After that discussion, I realized that while I’ve been improving on being a better listener, perhaps I could further work on compartmentalizing. Not only is this good for others around me who won’t have to deal with that negativity, but it is also beneficial for myself. Just something to work on.

    Thank you for your blog and advocacy of mental health issues. I’ll be back soon.


    • Thanks for visiting. I can so relate to your experience with your co-worker. I often don’t realize until after the fact that I have taken on more stress by poking my nose into matters that really aren’t my business. It is nice that you were able to have that dialogue with your coworker.


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