The Best Revenge

Note:  This post was written for the Chase Wilson Education blog as an anti-bullying / teen empowerment piece but I thought it might have some nice applications here in terms of personal development.  

Have you ever been hurt by someone? Wronged by someone in some serious way?  Maybe it wasn’t that long ago…maybe it was…maybe the time doesn’t make any difference in how fresh the pain feels to you.  And that pain; what is it?  There are so many emotions.  Is it anger, torment, disgust, embarrassment, heartbreak, humiliation, degradation?  Maybe the anguish was physical or perhaps it was emotional…Maybe all of them at once.  Do you blame the inflicter of that pain?  Do you see their face, feel their fist, wince and squirm at the sound of their voice or taunting laughter? Do you hold them responsible for what you now see and feel?  Do you wish they were stripped of their pleasure and it were replaced instantaneously with the very same hatred you feel?

Do You want vengeance?

If so…You’re not alone.

Nothing changes the mechanics of our human nature.  It’s natural to seek revenge upon the one that inflicted pain upon you, it’s normal to want to fight back…and it’s unfortunately common to dwell on ways to manifest that vengeance and to wish it upon a new enemy.  If you are to suffer, then so should they.

With all of the attention we’re bringing to modern bullying right now we’re learning more every day about not just how but why bullies operate the way they do.  What stands out for me, is that bullies often view themselves as being bullied.  In fact, their self-esteem is often lower than those they bully, their anxiety levels higher, their potential for depression greater.   Their need to attack and lash out at those they perceive as threats is almost preemptive.  You see, the lower someone’s self-esteem is, the less they are capable of actually understanding the motivations of those around them.  They can’t empathize as well, and thus their frame for how others act is limited purely to their own personal experience of life.

The worst kind of bully thinks that everyone thinks the way they do.

This makes them the most dangerous, because it means that bullying equals self-preservation — it makes them completely distrustful of others, paranoid, delusional, erratic and unstable.

So while we’re taught “don’t get mad, get even,” or that “an eye for an eye,” is the right way to fight back…

…The older I get, the less surprises me — mostly good, but even the bad.  The harder I have to look to find inspiration, when it used to wait for me within every day.  But with time comes experience, and we can choose to use the alchemy within us to transform that experience into wisdom.  When I apply whatever wisdom I have to this subject…to the idea of anger, the concept of using violence to bring balance and restore order…the more I recognize it does nothing to enact peace.  Pain, anguish, violence, war — whether we wish it upon another or physically exact it — we only bring those things upon ourselves at the same time.  Sure there may be an immediate satisfaction that comes with “getting even.”  And in a world becoming precariously more and more preoccupied with instant gratification — this is something we should be worried about.

But after that immediate gratification fades away, what is the aftermath?  Where do we go from there?  Well, I believe that anger and hate are diseases like any other…infections that can spread so easily.  What was so easily inflicted upon one person is easily spread to the next, and then to the next.  Usually those that are weaker, or those that trust us and pose no threat become the easiest target.  And once we’ve done something once, it’s easier to do it twice.  The third time is seamless, the fourth almost unconscious, and the fifth time is reflex.

And what for the bully now that we’ve taken our revenge upon them?  Well in a weird but very true way…they’ve now won twice.  How?  Because we’ve shown them that their paranoia, pessimism, distrust in the world and those they share it with is in fact true.  We’ve shown them that others are in fact just as hateful as they are — we’ve made their world complete and inescapable.  And oh yeah…after they heal their wounds, they’ll probably be coming back stronger and angrier…and they’ll want that one thing that will bring them that momentary and fleeting peace, that’ll restore balance and power to them…

…they’ll want revenge.

So, am I saying that you shouldn’t seek revenge?  Am I suggesting you should let yourself be walked all over, pushed around, and beaten down; threatened, harassed, intimidated and slandered?  No, I think you should have your revenge — but not in the way you might easily imagine it…

I suppose my way of describing it starts first with a simple quote…

“The Best Revenge is to Live a Good Life.”

Show that your inner strength is greater than anything they have to throw at you.  Absorb it, struggle with it, then channel it — and plot out the happy, fulfilling life you are going to lead from there forward.  Happiness is a choice, and courage is the greatest might one can show — the courage to be bright with your life.

Really think about it…these are the people that are the most successful in the long-run, they’re the most popular, the most enjoyable to be around.  They are the ones led by their spirit and they leave behind them a trail of optimism for others to follow…but they don’t care whether they’re being followed or not, a good leader does what they do not because they seek followers, but because they seek a better way for them self.

See life as the great adventure that always lies ahead. When you’re in the middle of an adventure, there’s no time to plot any kind of revenge.

Remember…that’s what the villains do.

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~ by Dan Fabrizio on March 7, 2012.

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