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A Toast To Ill-Wishers and Critics

I’ve decided from today to be nicer to my antagonists and detractors. I couldn't have gotten to where I am today without them.

Think about it. A movie without a "killer"(antagonist), what would the "jack"(protagonist) do with all their time? A cop with no serial killer fixated on them, not very interesting. where's the "gbushia gbushia", the action?

A concert with no "booers"(unappreciative audience), how would the "diva"(main performer) react, feel validated? A superstar with no audience making disapproving grunts, not exactly captivating, no real drama, right?

A political drama with no "opposition"(disagreeing party), what would the "leader"(presumptive winner) aim to fight against? A prime minister with no looming political threat, it would be just another mundane policy implementation, where's the suspense in that?

A landscape painting with no "dark shades"(contrasting elements), how could the "bright hues"(dominating elements) stand out? An artist with no contrasting paints to work with, wouldn't it be just another plain canvas, where's the depth, the aesthetics?

A love story with no "heartbreak"(catharsis), how would the "lover"(main character) realize the importance of the cherished one? A Romeo with no hurdle of Juliet's death, it'd result in merely a story of two lovebirds, where's the struggle, the emotional ride?

A boxing ring with no "opponent"(challenger), what would the "boxer"(defender) fight against? A heavyweight champion with no key rival, it's merely a training session, where's the thrill, the nail-biting finish?

A chess game with no "black"(opposing pieces), how can the "white"(dominant pieces) strategize and prove its mettle? A champion with no competitor, it's simply a board setup then, where's the tactics, the intellectual climax?

Without an opposition, who else would fuel that powerful fire in you? Who else waits with bated breath at your every move, eager to see what you’re going to achieve, and to determine if the art you’re making is up to par?

Who is it that “drags” you halfway across the room when you’re not doing something well? Who else besides someone who hates you will pull from deep within themselves to tell you the truth with great animosity?


Only a person who dislikes you will check on your progress constantly, even if the reason isn’t altruistic, they're checking up on your progress nonetheless. Knowing that someone is around the corner waiting for you to forget to cross a T or dot an I is what makes you go through all your work and life choices with a fine-tooth comb to make sure you're not falling short. It works for me.

The last time your business went through a scandal, it was your detractor who shared it with such a passionate write-up of how much they hate you, which got shared to thousands. Some, of course, aren’t stupid and thought, “Let me check out this person and this business that everyone seems so intent on destroying.” They came to your wall, or met you, saw what an excellent person you actually are, and you won another heart.

If there was no one to overlook and underrate you, would you do all you could to better yourself to the point where they have no choice but to include and exalt you?

If your mother's friend hadn’t insulted her and told her you wouldn’t amount to anything, would she have sold every last good thing she had to send you to the best schools so you could become a doctor, just for her to pepper Auntie Akua, whose son was last seen in Nsawam prison?

Look, respect your enemies. Thank God for them. If they didn’t exist, before whom would “God set your table”?

Someone once told me, “take the pain you got from me as a lesson. Next time you meet a person, look beyond what they present.” I took those words to heart and am happy to say they’ve helped me a great deal. Every time I successfully evade the capture of a bad person, I say a silent thank you to this person.

Maybe I’m weird, and it's not normal to feel this way, but I think people who love me want me to feel good, rest, be happy and to take care of myself. People who hate me want me to suffer, lack, and bleed. You’re human, and the natural defiance all humans have will come through and say, “Oh, you want me to fail? Watch this!” Love and coddling don’t have this effect.

Today, I pray for anyone who dislikes me. I thank God for bringing them around. Where would I be in my self-improvement journey if they weren't there to pick at my nits? Pray for your critics too. They check out your work first, yes, even if it is to trash it. They’re the first to share your good news, even if it is to discredit it. They’re the first to embrace you, even if it is a chance to get close enough to stab you.

I said, pray for them, I didn't say let them come near you; they'll poison you, don't say I didn't warn you. But think of them more kindly, perhaps. I know I do mine.


Every time I celebrate a feat, I end with a toast to my critics.

May they always find their unique thrill in the pursuit of my perceived imperfections, each critique if I choose to take it to heart, offers an opportunity to grow, improve, and strive for excellence. May they always find imperfections in me, so that I may take notes to improve myself. And may they never fret that I'll improve to a point where you find nothing to point at, for that would be a most uninteresting existence for me. Maybe I just don't like putting people out of their jobs.

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