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Arthur C. Brooks: Love Your Enemies

In the first chapter of “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt” author Arthur C. Brooks discusses the culture of contempt. This summary shares the main ideas of his chapter.

Contempt is the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless or deserving scorn. Similar to addiction, in order to get relief from contempt and live a life of love, it is necessary to let go of what you hate and ask for what you love. Most of us want love, kindness and respect. We can choose what we truly want by rejecting contempt and embracing love.

Brooks’ book outlines four rules for how you should treat others with whom you disagree.

1. When you speak to someone with whom you fervently disagree, focus on their distress empathetically. Listen to them respectfully and understand what upsets them. Try to understand their point of view before offering your own. Never listen only to give rebuttal.

2. Make sure you offer five positive comments for every one criticism. On social media, make five positive posts for every one post others might see as negative.

3. No contempt is ever justified, even if it is in the heat of the moment and you think someone else deserves it. It is always bad for you. It will never convince anyone else that they are wrong.

4. Go where people disagree with you and learn from them. Make new friends and seek out opinions with which you don’t agree.

NOTE: Please purchase this book. It's excellent.

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