“A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.” Francis Bacon
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” Rumi
“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A small boy looked at a star and began to weep. The star said, ‘Boy, why are you weeping?’ And the boy said, ‘You are so far away I will never be able to touch you.’ And the star answered, ‘Boy, if I were not already in your heart, you would not be able to see me.” John Magliola
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi
“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.” Buddha
Likely our first thoughts after someone hurts us, are the manner in which we can get even with this person. In one way or another we conceive of ideas, to commit actions or words, that will emphasize our retaliation. Probably our hearts are racing, and we fill up with anger. At times it might be difficult to contain our attitudes, which affect everyone in our vicinity. The fault we conceive, lies with the person who hurt us.The degree of our fury, is usually equivalent to the amount of injury to our feelings, and the extent of the closeness of the relationship. We are quicker to give some leeway to those we love the most. The less important people in our lives, are the focus of payback. Somehow, sadly to say, we gain our composure, by reflecting on how we will execute our revenge. It offers us some power and control, although at a cost we haven’t considered.
Retribution is seen in all areas of our world. Countries as well as people have long memories. The disintegration of any relationship, or the treading on the territory of another, triggers response systems that possibly get out of control. The desire to even the score remains strong. It becomes an itch that can’t be scratched. Perhaps at no other time are we as fixated. There is no room for discussions of any kind. Our minds are shut off from suggestions. We understand what we have to do, and we want to do it. The other person or people must comprehend what they did, and that comes with experiencing the same kind of affliction. That is the premise of our argument.
The reality is we work against ourselves. We end up with as much hurt and pain as the receiver of our revenge. We may not expect to feel worse, and likely our expectations are the opposite. The truth is, at the very least, there is damage to our souls and spirits, if not to our minds and bodies. The truth is that we cannot absorb reality, when enveloped in the fog of hate and anger.
Being wrapped up in it, renders us powerless to see reality. So many people are so extremely sorrowful, after having extracted pain from another in vengeance. There are few who dance for joy. If one does, then they are overshadowed in their own shells of rage. It becomes difficult to remove the infection, to allow light from their spirits to shine forth. The eating away of our empathy, understanding, love and caring is relentless. I believe the longer we hold our rage within, the harder it becomes to remove. None of us desire to become an unrecognizable entity.
Within society, if one’s family fights, we take sides, and fault those who have committed no offense other than be forced to choose a side. We blame those who don’t agree with us, or those we are jealous of. There are so many reasons we find blame with others. Some causes may be quite reasonable, and others totally unreasonable excuses. Right or wrong, there still is more damage done to the perpetrator of the retribution, than to anyone else. When the settling of the score is complete, and the balloon of fury deflates, probably one is left in sorrow, and void of love.
There are times when others hurt us in a devastating way. The acts are on their souls. When we choose vengeance, we diminish our own souls. We are not gaining peace but instead, emptiness. Even low keyed revenge, harms our spirits and causes us to focus on evil rather than good. Sometimes what we perceive as injury, might have more to do with our own interpretation of the situation. By carrying the perceived impairment beyond it’s meaning, we have permitted uncontrolled anger to overpower thinking.
A bad day that allows our jealous or envious feelings to overtake our reason, doesn’t have to end with revengeful thoughts, if the other party can see the truth. We all likely must learn how to be more tolerant, and patient with others. Learning to accept people with their off days, as well as their awesome days, is crucial. Perhaps by starting with those we love, we might work towards being tolerant of those who we dislike, or perhaps don’t even know. Judging a group of people, or an entire family, is poor and dangerous assessment. Maybe we should begin by leaving the judgement up to God. Most if not all people live in glass houses. I may not be judging you, but perhaps I judge the person down the street.
Power, control, jealousy and the yearning to win, are perhaps triggers of revenge and revenge hurts us in it’s execution. Freedom is paramount in our minds. Fairness is vital but the absence of empathy towards others is crushing our spirits and our souls. If we can perceive of our own pain, then we must attempt to comprehend the pain of others. Kindness begets kindness, love begets love, empathy teaches empathy, understanding teaches understanding. Revenge begets more revenge, pain, regret, powerlessness, destruction, and a soul void of love.
I have never felt better when I hurt another with my words or actions. I actually spent many hours feeling remorse for what I did. There is no sweetness or joy in revenge or retaliation. Whenever I have exacted retribution, at a later date the person has done something nice for me, and in the process, rendered me remorseful. Those moments I refrained from revenge and was upset with myself, proved to be honorable moments. The erring individual, came back with peace offerings. Needless to say, I was happy for not settling any score with pain, because they corrected it with kindness.
In Japan the art of kintsugi in ceramics refers to the practice of repairing cracks in pottery with gold, in effect making the broken pottery more valuable than the pristine piece. In this way we see that our own cracks can be filled with gold.
“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung
“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” Norman Vincent Peale
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross