Why Revenge Is A Silly Thing To Want

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seeking revenge on someone

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It’s natural to want to lash out in some way against those who hurt us. If a friend sleeps with your boyfriend, a coworker goes behind your back and takes the position you wanted, a romantic entanglement breaks your heart, or a sibling reveals personal and embarrassing information about you, you want that person to feel as bad as they made you feel. Maybe we can chalk that response up to a survival instinct. Long, long ago, when humans were living in caves and not emotionally evolved, the only kind of pain they inflicted on one another was physical, so naturally, in order to survive, they had to just repeat the same offense against their attacker. But, when we try that method today, in our personal, more delicate affairs, it never quite works out how we’d hoped. Here is why revenge is a silly thing to want.


You can’t turn back time

Even if your plan for revenge pans out, you’ll find yourself sitting there and realizing you still didn’t get the thing you wanted. You didn’t undo the offense perpetrated on you. You can’t make a boyfriend uncheat on you. You can’t make your boss unhire someone and give you the job. You can’t turn back time.


You never get the gratification you seek

Revenge is never as gratifying as we think it’s going to be. We think that by inflicting pain on someone else, we send our own pain out the door. But that’s not how it works. You get a brief flicker of satisfaction and then…you’re back to square one. The only way to get rid of your pain is to feel it and work through it—not to inflict it onto others.


In fact, you feel sick after

It’s common to feel sick and even depressed after seeking revenge. It can be very anticlimactic, and rarely meets your high expectations. You may find that, after carrying out your plan for revenge, you feel even worse than you did before.


Because you gave the situation more of you

Part of the reason you feel worse after seeking revenge is that you just gave more of yourself—of your feelings and hopes and energy—to a situation that was already bad for you. If, for example, you sought revenge on a partner who cheated on you, you really just gave that toxic person more of your attention.


So, you’re still “losing”

By seeking revenge, you are still feeding into the toxic or unhealthy dynamic. The person who negatively impacted your life is still doing so, every second that you seek revenge. So you start to realize, deep down, that you are still losing.


The other person may barely feel it

Here’s an unexpected and unfortunate consequence of revenge: sometimes the person you hope to get it on doesn’t even feel it. You post a nasty, incriminating rant about someone or you sleep with someone’s ex. And then…they just laugh it off. Or they are so happy with how their life has turned out that nothing can really hurt them. That will leave you fuming.


If they do, you can feel you overdid it

On the flip side, it’s common to overdo it on revenge, and if you do, you’ll feel it quickly. Like if you seduce an ex’s brother or you slander and destroy the reputation of a colleague who simply didn’t give you an opportunity you wanted. You can go too far, and when everyone sees that, it’s your reputation that is ruined.


There is nothing productive about it

There is not one productive thing about seeking revenge. There really isn’t. You are not perpetuating anything good or helpful or fruitful to yourself. All you are doing is trying to do something negative to someone else, but that doesn’t do anything positive for you.


So you’re wasting valuable time

So when you seek revenge, since it isn’t productive, you are wasting time—your valuable time. You put yourself even further behind the person you’re seeking revenge on, by wasting time doing that instead of doing something productive.


You could have been pursuing something

Think of what you could be doing with your time instead of seeking revenge. Did you lose out on a job opportunity? You could be sending out emails, trying to generate new leads, or working on your resume. Did a friend sleep with your boyfriend? You could be going to therapy (you’ll probably need to eventually) or attending a wellness retreat where you give to yourself.


Others disrespect you for it

Mature adults will disrespect the fact that you seek revenge. If anybody catches wind of the fact that you’re wasting your free time drawing up schemes and plans to hurt somebody—like a teenager in a Disney movie—they’ll lose respect for you instantly. So now you just lost clout.


Well, the wrong people respect it

There will be some people who respect the fact that you seek revenge—but those people tend to be immature and emotionally unwell. Don’t enjoy the “respect” you get for seeking revenge—anyone who circles around you during this time is probably just going to bring havoc into your life later. They aren’t well.


It can create a cycle

The person you seek revenge on may seek it back. They may not take the high road. They may not be the bigger person. They may also fight back, rather than cower like you’d hoped. So now you’re in a cycle of seeking revenge, back and forth.


All the while, you’re falling behind

This entire time, you’re wasting time, energy, and resources. This entire time, other people are getting the opportunities you aren’t applying for or reaching the goals you’ve set aside, for the silly, fruitless pursuit of revenge.


The best revenge is moving on

The best revenge is to not give those who wronged us a second though. Or at least now show them they got a second thought. It’s to care for yourself. It’s to make great things happen for you—not bad things happen for others. When you seek revenge, you just give power to the person who hurt you. And that’s no form of revenge at all.

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