This week, I pondered over the idea of revenge.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve thought about “getting revenge” on someone. I suppose it’s a good thing, since it means there hasn’t been anybody who has angered me enough to think about things like this.
I was once asked the question: What would you do for revenge if someone hurt your mother?
My reply (joking… kind of): It will involve a twenty-year plan in which the person will be slowly pushed into crumbling debt, causing him or her to lose all belongings and assets, gradually adopting self-destructive behaviours such as alcoholism and gambling that will eventually drive away loved ones. Slowly, his or her life will fall apart until he or she decides to take his or her own life.
But as we all know (or are told), revenge means nothing. It doesn’t return what was taken away and the gratification that seemingly first fills you up empties itself fast. That is why, regarding the topic of “revenge”, my philosophy is: living well is the best revenge.
Take my example from before – why would I consider my twenty-year plan an act of revenge? Because the person loses all of his or her happiness, in whatever form or shape it means to the person. You know what would kill me the most?
If I saw this person happy.
So yes, this is quite a dark thought, but I can’t deny it. People who hate you? You know what they hate more than just you? A happy you.
So let’s flip this argument around and make it less dark: work towards your own happiness. Forget about the people who want to see you in misery. Don’t waste any time or energy planning how to “get them back” or make them “suffer like you did”. Even if your revenge is successful, it’s not fulfilling in the grander scope. And if at the end of all this work you are not happy, then what is really the point?
Working towards becoming happy, however, is different. It’s an investment towards you – your own life, your mental well-being and the wellness of the people you care about. It not only brings back inner peace, which is vital for moving on in life (onto better things, presumably), it also causes grief to the people who hope to see you fall and never get back up again.
People who seek revenge often forget that happiness can be achieved again, hundreds of times over, if you are willing to look for it. Even if you lose everything and everybody, you can still find or make happiness. It’s just hard, not impossible.
For those who seek revenge, I ask you not to necessarily take the high road and forgive them, but to do yourself a favour and live well. Pity those who can only receive happiness from another person’s pain, and place your own happiness above the agonies of another. What matters is you and your happiness. Don’t let somebody else distract you from that.
Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.
― Shannon L. Alder
P.S. Also as a response to the daily prompt: Angry.