Revenge is a strong human emotion. Probably one of the strongest, in many cases. The main basis for revenge, hatred, is an easy emotion that festers on all the negative emotions that are collectively present in the human brain. It is far easier to gravitate towards sadness and negativity and drown under the waves than it is to fight the wave and swim to the shore by choosing happiness.
But beyond all these things, revenge is also the saddest human emotion. More than loss or pain, revenge is the symptom of a far deeper psychological need to not let go and to hold on to the pain. While love is focused more towards letting go all the things that are painful and instead trying to do the best possible thing, revenge is more about holding on with severe intensity to the thing that pains us, and using that pain as a fuel to further our activities.
There’s a common misconception that confuses revenge and justice, interchanging the aim and purpose of both. When revenge is seen as the only way to obtain justice, it is a basic flaw that the person cannot overcome. Revenge is not the means to achieve peace. In fact, on the contrary, if the objective is achieved, revenge leaves the person feeling empty. The temporary euphoria fades quickly when compared with the losses one had to endure because they held on to their revenge more than anything else they valued.
It is invariably the case where the one who focuses on revenge loses their ‘spirit / sense of self’ as the first sacrifice at the bloody altar. Only after this is done can the instinct of self-preservation (the basest of human instincts) can take a back seat. This is the main hurdle in revenging, so this has to be done away with. Revenging is the mad process where the pain and the goal become more important than oneself. No one else exists and nothing makes sense.
With that safety precaution out of the way, the process of revenge begins, and the self-harm comes first. While in most cases, the signs of trauma are not visible to the naked eye, the emotional scars manifest themselves in many ways that do not seem correlated at the outset but have a connection at a deeper level. There is no form of self-harm more potent that the urge for revenge. Up until this point, the word ‘revenge’ is associated with capital crimes, not everyday things. It might come as a surprise to many that revenge is usually an emotion that pervades the smaller, everyday things in life.
Revenge might be that little feeling that urges the ‘conservative, traditional’ girl to ‘choose freedom’ and expose her vulnerability to vultures. Revenge could be that feeling where men who have been taken for a ride by a woman make it a point to return the favor to other unsuspecting women. Revenge is that little feeling that urges people to do the very things their rationality and common sense advices them against. Motivated by pain and a sense of seeking justice, the misplaced righteousness makes people do things they normally would advise others against.
Perhaps the saddest and most misunderstood part of revenge is that sense of false liberation that comes in the initial stages. The small sense of exhilaration that is associated with doing the very thing one was taught and conditioned not to do is often understood as relief. It is an empty jar of happiness that escapes at the first leak. It is the first stage before the obsession of revenge sets in, clouding all rational thought.
The revenge for a cheating spouse is not to cheat back on them. The revenge for a life lost is not another life. The revenge for what one person did is not to be directed towards others. The revenge of someone harming / controlling you is not to retaliate by harming yourself more, not after escaping the iron clutches of the person who did that.
The emotional imbalances associated with the revenge and the effort it takes to focus on the successful completion of the revenge are far more complicated. The damage is always long lasting, sometimes until the life time. Holding on to the thought of revenge and strengthening oneself with that goal in mind is like creating Horcruxes – a process that is seemingly brilliant but actually damages the soul beyond repair.
The importance of keeping a soul whole can never be understated. The heart is meant to be broken while the soul is meant to be intact. Revenge, on the other hand, is the first thing that destroys the soul. It feeds on the strongest thing in humans and attaches itself to the soul in the form of an obsession that cannot be overcome or controlled.
An eye for an eye only makes us lose both eyes. The believing, trusting gentle soul who was once a happy spouse only loses their reputation and dignity if they try to cheat in return, diminishing the essence of who they were. One person’s acts are no the representation of a whole spectrum of people, and no single person should have enough sway and hold over anyone to make them foolish enough to harm themselves in the name of revenge.
A betrayal of trust is not the end of friendship as an emotion, it is only the end of the relationship between the people associated with it. A cheating spouse is in no way a reason to distrust every person or lose hope in the institution of marriage. And no amount of murders in revenge can bring back the life that was lost. It is actually logical to let go of the tiring emotions.
Living happily and overcoming the inhibitions by trusting again is the best course of action. Finally letting go of the pain and the thirst for revenge is the first step to inner peace and contentment. The only purpose revenge serves is to harm the one who holds on to the grudge. It reverses no actions that have already been done nor does it make any changes in the things fate has doled out. The sense of revenge only creates a bitterness towards the good and happy things in life, making sure that the other reasons for happiness do not come either.
Seeking out happiness takes effort – a much stronger effort when the demon of revenge has to be fought. But the exhilarating results far exceed the efforts put in, making sure that we cannot settle down for anything less. Exacting revenge is a demanding process, a time consuming obsession that the human psyche can do without. It only needs the realization that the first sacrifice at the bloody altar of revenge is the ‘spirit / sense of the self’. Yes. I repeated that sentence because its importance cannot be stated enough.