When you decide to act on seeking revenge on someone, you inevitably end up poisoning your own mind because you are so fixed on harming someone who has harmed you. Once that seed takes root in your mind and you choose to take action, you go down a path that you can’t come back from.
Movie and television plots are laden with the theme of revenge…and we can’t stop watching them. It’s what drives the story and allows us to connect to the characters. The impulse to right the wrong that happened resonates with us. The idea of exacting sweet revenge on someone who has done us wrong is a natural human response backed up by science. MRI scans have shown that thinking about revenge activates the reward center in our brains and releases dopamine. But does carrying it out really benefit us?
Well, let’s take a look at what revenge really is. It’s justice, right? It’s resetting the balance of things in the universe. It’s giving someone what they deserve for hurting you or trying to destroy you or destroying someone you love. When I think of The Punisher on season two of Daredevil on Netflix, I can’t help but think he is completely justified in his actions. Revenge is human feeling we can all relate to and we cheer on the person seeking it.
But setting down the road of revenge is also ego driven and based the need to control the outcome of the person or people who harmed us. It is not trusting that the universe is unfolding as it should, be it fair or not. It’s not trusting that what goes around comes around. The idea of trusting that they will ‘get theirs’ isn’t good enough.
Whether it’s justified or not, seeking revenge corrupts who we are. It infects the mind and focuses on resetting and re-balancing our universe by looking to do so externally. Even if you plot and scheme day and night to destroy a person, it may not even work. In our efforts to re-balance the universe by getting justice, revenge becomes a vicious cycle of retaliation. You can fix what happened to you by breaking someone else.
However, the feeling of wanting revenge is part of the human condition and completely normal to feel. It’s what we choose to do with those feelings that matter. So is there a healthy way to deal with feelings of revenge?
As cliché as it is, the best revenge you will ever get in life is being happy and successful. Instead of focusing on external things to make you feel better, focus on what you can control. Pour all that energy you have for destroying someone else into creating the life that you want for yourself.
The truth is, the people who have wronged you don’t deserve such a prominent place in your mind. Don’t allow them to run your emotions. Focus on achieving your goals, cultivating healthy relationships and experiencing life on your terms. Your time here is precious and you are a perishable item. Don’t give things that don’t deserve a place in your heart or mind the chance to take root.