(Three minute read about how to fight the urge to seek revenge)
Have you ever been so mad at someone that revenge is the only thing on your mind? It’s arguably one of the most attractive, satisfying and instinctual human responses to experiencing pain and I can speak to that from significant personal experience…
Revenge seems to make the pain go away for just long enough to feel good again for a brief period of time. But here’s the thing about revenge – it ends up doing more harm to you than it does to the person you sought revenge on…
Let me explain how…
I grew up in a house where fighting with my brothers was more common than anything else. Well, fighting is a significant understatement…We wrote the book on kicking the shit out of each other…
And with fighting often came the desire for revenge.
If you read my first book, Reflections from the Man in the Mirror, you know exactly how difficult my relationships with my brothers were. I was so blinded by the pain that was caused to me that I didn’t care how much collateral damage my retaliation caused.
My desire for revenge was ripping my family apart without me realizing it. Every time we fought – we got in trouble – and every time we got in trouble, it only fueled the resentment and desire to seek revenge on each other.
I was so focused on revenge that the cycle of hurting each other only grew stronger. I had convinced myself that “an eye for an eye” was a valid way to live, when in fact, it wasn’t. Over time I learned that as great as revenge felt, it felt like every time I sought revenge, I was trading away a piece of my soul.
Here’s what I have come to learn…
Revenge feels good but only for a short while. After that short feeling subsides, you realize that you’ve caused pain to another person just to level the playing field, but not in the way you might have hoped. Revenge is intended to make those who hurt us feel the pain they caused us, hence “an eye for an eye”. But here’s what really happens; you give up control of your happiness. Each time someone hurts you and you seek revenge, you replace forgiveness with anger – and if you are angry then you are most definitely not happy.
The moment I made forgiveness my response to pain, instead of revenge, my life was changed forever. It’s not easy but I find peace in forgiving others because that aligns with my moral compass. I can’t prevent others from hurting me but I can prevent myself from hurting others. This change in perspective not only changed my life, but made my relationship with my brothers stronger than it has ever been.
An eye for an eye isn’t a valid way to live, it’s just an excuse to be an a#$hole back to people who hurt you…
By: Timothy A. Natale
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