The urge to seek revenge can be all consuming at times.
You know the car that cut you up? You’ll show them.
The person that pushed in front of you in the supermarket queue? How dare they? Don’t they know that queuing is the number one UK rule that must be obeyed?
And what about that driver that always parks over your driveway? Should you put a note on the screen or just let the air out of their tyres?
The advice we hear when someone has wronged us covers both options.
Option 1, we are told to forgive and forget. That forgiving someone for doing is wrong is better for us. It stops us ruminating, preventing hatred from seeping into our very being and rotting our souls.
Personally, I don’t subscribe to this thinking. I don’t always think forgiveness is the way to go. Some things simply can’t be forgiven, and yes, much of it is down to the forgiver to decide whether or not a word, action or behaviour is worthy of forgiveness. It’s at their discretion.
Option 2 reassures us that revenge is sweet. As a Scorpio, I must admit that I veer towards this one more which, I hasten to add, is not the same as saying I put those words into action (not frequently, at least) and wreak vengeful havoc upon those that have betrayed, wronged or simply just pissed me off because they looked at me in that way.
What is the best revenge?
Epictetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher, was once asked how a man should give pain to his enemy. His reply for the best revenge was that one should prepare himself to live the best life he can.
These words from Epictetus are the ones I hold close to me when feelings arising from past events threaten to take over. My revenge might be what my abusive ex expects of me.
Definitely, my tears, my pushback, my attempt to battle him, as I always had done, which only served to feed his sense of superiority and power, and strengthen his strangulating hold over me. These are the things he wanted desperately.
Epictetus was so right; the one thing my abusive ex simply cannot cope with is my acceptance.
The past is the past.
I accept that.
But what I do now is in my hands.
And that past does not need to affect my future.
Not in any way, unless it’s to further ignite the fire in my belly to do… well, anything I want!
I do not carry the forgiveness of what he did to me or of everything that happened, because I don’t forgive any of it.
What I have is the acceptance that these things did happen.
In accepting, the rope that bound me slackened, giving me that little gap I needed to to free myself and begin to rebuild. With every step I became a little stronger, a little more confidence, nurturing that tiny ember of power deep within my soul.
As I grew and my ex’s grip slipped, his resentment and disdain of me increased, because how DARE I no longer succumb to his control.
How DARE I forge a life in which he doesn’t even feature, not even in some quest to even the playing field and teach him a lesson.
Forgiveness is not the same as acceptance.
But living my life in the best way for me, to be constantly growing and thriving and living, is the best revenge I can wreak.
Revenge is sweet
I don’t deny it.
Revenge is sweet.
But revenge doesn’t need to be a direct detriment actioned upon others.
The best revenge on those that wish us bad is loving ourselves even more, in setting goals for ourselves and reaching them.
Revenge is in our self-improvement, in our betterment.
The ultimate revenge is the moment our eyes open to the realisation that we, only we, have the control over our own lives, in what we do and in what we are capable of.
And there is no limit to what we are capable of doing or being or becoming.
The ultimate, sweetest and best revenge is neither in the attack or the forgiveness of another, but in the love and nurturing and investment we pour into ourselves.
That’ll show them.