What’s really better than revenge

What’s really better than revenge

Listening to Taylor Swift sing her song Better than Revenge I have to ask her, why bother singing that song?  What would be better than revenge?  That’s such a simple question to answer.  How about people stop doing stupid crap that makes others want to get revenge or, and this is a complicated thing to wrap one’s head around, how about we all be adults about drama and move on with our lives when we get screwed over?

I know it’s easier said than done, but sometimes we can’t hold on to anger.  Sometimes it is just better to let go and live again.

Recently I learned that holding on to anger can prevent you from getting to the truth.  A majority of the time people don’t intend to hurt others, or so I like to think, and if you give someone a chance to explain themselves you may save yourself a lot of energy.  Contemplating revenge and letting your anger fume at someone is exhausting.

Instead, I have learned, it sometimes is better to follow three simple steps when you feel like you are being screwed causing you to hate someone:

  1. Step back from the situation.  Turn your phone off, sign off of all social media and remove yourself from the situation.  Meditate, go for a run, do yoga, bake, go out dancing or do whatever it is you do to burn off steam.
  2. Once some time is between you and the issue, whether that be a few hours or even a few months, pick up the phone or write an email and contact the person that you feel has wronged you.  Calmly and collectedly say, “I realize that you probably never would intentionally hurt or upset me, but I want you to know that you did, none-the-less, hurt me in these ways…  Stay calm, realize that the person might be combative, but more often than not they will surprise you if you approach them in the right way.  At least that has been the case in my experience.  From approaching the topic later in a calm way you most likely will get a positive response like, “I am sorry my actions or words hurt you, that is not what I intended.”
  3. Drop the issue for good once the conversation in step three has been completed.  Someone can only apologize for what they have done, they can’t take something back that happened in the past or was said in the past.  Let it go for your benefit, for theirs and for your relationship with this person (whether thats a father/son, mother/daughter, sister/brother or best friend relationship).

I’ve learned over the past few years this is not an easy three step process to take on when angry.  They sound simple enough, but when you are heated up like asphalt on a 100 degree day these steps can feel impossible, particularly the staying calm portion of the process.

I use to listen to the song Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks on repeat.  I was so angry at someone in my life that I couldn’t imagine moving past my anger.  For years I belted it out in the darkness of my apartment or while taking a shower.  I use to blast it in my ears while I ran through the city getting out every bit of aggression I had at the moment.  I was angry.

Then one day I woke up and asked myself, “what am I truly mad at?”  My anger caused a bigger problem than what made me angry in the first place.  When I realized this I picked up the phone and followed the three steps above as they were suggested to me by a friend.  To my surprise the person I was mad at apologized for unintentionally hurting me.  We had a nice 20 minute conversation catching up on life and she proved to me that what people say about family is true.  Family will love you no matter what and they will be forgiving.  Just as much as I needed an apology I had to give one for not being able to civilly sit down and explain my pain at the time of the incident that led to our ongoing feud and estrangement.

Revenge and ongoing anger isn’t healthy.  It builds up inside you and burns.  Like water over boiling and splashing over the sides of a pot, anger will spill out into all areas of your life.  You might not be ready to make nice, but the second you make an attempt to make nice you could very well be surprised that you are more ready than you realized.

Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks