Recently, I came across what I consider one of the most unpleasant words there is. That word is revenge. Revenge can be defined as, reprisal, retribution, vengeance suggest a punishment, or injury inflicted in return for one received. Revenge is the carrying out of a bitter desire to injure another for a wrong done to oneself or to those who are felt to be like oneself: to plot revenge. I am not competitive innately, so I do not even play games very often.
The times I have competed with someone, things ended when the event was over. I honestly don’t believe I have intentionally gone out of my way to seek revenge on someone else. That is why I find the whole idea unpleasant. That being said, I have been on the receiving end of revenge a few times in my life. Among the many feelings present in at these times, I am aware of feelings of sadness and disappointment.
That is because relationships are crucial to me. I highly value the ability to communicate with others and to work together to achieve goals. I know that sometimes I find myself disputing another person. Let’s describe this aspect of a relationship as having respect. Having told people for years that we do not have to like one another to have a working relationship. I say that what we have to give one another is respect. When we cannot offer respect to one another, we have to re-define our relationship.
To my way of thinking, the ultimate conclusion of realizing we cannot offer each other respect is to simply recognize that we cannot be in a relationship and simply go our separate ways. The idea of revenge takes that whole thing to a new level, and that is where I am troubled.
I’m certain we all know of situations where a contest, a relationship or even a disagreement has gone against one party and rather than just moving on, the “injured” party carries out an elaborate plan of revenge. Even if the object of the revenge deserved to be paid back, often the consequences of the revenge are worse than the “injury” that provoked the action.
At a time when our society is very polarized on so many levels, Some consequences of acts of revenge can cause harm to others, including people who have no part of the dispute. In times of high stress, it can be very difficult to simply let an action go or to respond with understanding and patience rather than with an angry plan to get revenge.
As we move forward, it might be helpful to look at any times someone might have taken revenge against us. Think about how it felt. Then, think about any time we might have been tempted to take revenge on someone else. (Of course, I know we didn’t take revenge, but it’s important to think hypothetically sometimes.) What would that have been like? Aren’t we glad we are above things like that! Think about how great life would be if everyone was like us and avoided seeking revenge.
As we move forward to whatever normal looks like, wouldn’t it be great to envision our world as a revenge-free place. That can start with you and me. Will you join me in making revenge a thing of the past, and not a part of our future?If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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