We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t plot revenge at some point in our lives (internally, in our minds, of course!) It seems to be human nature (and I daresay ONLY human-kind’s nature) to want to “get back” at someone for what we perceive as injustice. Doesn’t matter what it is, or frankly WHO it is…the tantalizing prospect of nudging the Universe from its perch and taking our own karmic control of the situation has a way of rearing its head in distress.
Remarkably, animals don’t appear to have the hangup…though they also fail to drudge around much of the human baggage our brains insist we do. Complex creatures, indeed! We can, as much in this case as countless others, learn from animals about how to best manage an anger-provoking scenario…
Ever notice how animals just carry on? I raised two jungle cats and inevitably there’d be several stand-offs a week with my female. Oh yes, she’d test the boundaries with a fierce and unrelenting gaze in effort to see if she could assert full dominance in our argument-du-moment (for example, removing her giant self from atop my computer cupboard so I could work without any distractions (e.g.: a flying and sharp paw.))
Well, I had to stare HER down to ensure she knew who (momma!) was in charge. And after the showdown when she submissively averted her eyes? Life went on – right back to normal. She didn’t hold a grudge for my stern assertion of I’m-the-bossness – she loved me just as much as before (and in fact, likely had more respect.)
While this is a substantial departure from a person-to-person tango (at work, at home, with a close friend etc), it does offer us another example of fine behavior. There’s no stewing or festering. She isn’t running false scenarios though her mind that I don’t love her, or that I deserve to be bitten in the face. There’s no lashing out because she didn’t get what she wanted… And there’s no toddler-type tantrum (the kind human adults pitch all the time.)
If you think about it, it really IS as simple as that – and it’s applicable. We may be upset about a situation, or feeling hurt (which, by the way, animals can certainly feel too – they aren’t devoid of emotion!) but wallowing in misery or replaying the “how-can-I-retort?” loop isn’t going to help us.
Even better? Moving on and being happy.
If someone in our life is toxic, hard it may be, we have to exit stage left (why left? I have to look that up again. I have no idea!)
If someone has lied or wronged us, we need to let it go and move onwards-and-upwards. (It’s not easy to let go sometimes – I too have been known to struggle with this. The moving ON, however, was always the plan. Chin up. Smile on. Seek out the new and better opportunities.)
When we lessen the burden we carry around – such as the plethora of injustices done to us (and I am sure we could all enumerate at length!) – we make room for more joy, love, and fulfillment in life.
Not everyone IS as nice as you are. Not everyone understands what might feel to some of us like common-sense manners, or decencies. Not everyone, let’s be honest, really cares about others…or if the impact they’ve had on your life has been negative all around.
We have choices.
- We DO get to choose or partners and friends.
- We DO get to choose how we manage situations
- We DO get to choose our behavior, our actions, and our responses (note that I didn’t say reactions…which are often quick and less measured than a response. Semantics, yes, but an important distinction.)
- We DO get to choose how we carry ourselevs
- We DO – big one – get to choose happiness (it’s the ultimate DIY! Read other posts on this here, here, or just browse the rest here.)
We get to decide to detach. To let go. To let Karma do what she does best…and right a situation of her own accord. I was taught that people “fall of their own weight” and boy…I’ve seen it time and time again. We don’t need the burden of weighing in. It is neither our right, nor our responsibility. And ooooh, the freedom in getting to focus on our own happiness instead? Talk about a GIFT!
In Martial Arts we say we hope we never have to use what we learn – the idea isn’t about trying to prove something, nor to assert any kind of feigned dominance.
Along those lines, we are taught that ideas like “revenge” and “anger” serve only as injurious deviations from our true paths. The Universe finds a way to right things without the heavier, shall we say, karmic repercussions of going down that road.
To seek revenge or harbor ill will is, as Buddha says, holding the proverbial hot coals and assuming both that they will burn another…and also that we are impervious.
The truth is the reverse – to seek such things is to diminish our own self-worth. It is a disservice to ourselves as willfully negative actions and thoughts hinder the flow of “good” that has the potential to continually manifest in our lives. It is far wiser to let go of resentment, and to be as the Martial Artist aspires to be – free of the burdens that come with animosity and bad blood.
It isn’t always an easy pursuit, but it is a noble one and worth the aspiration. Neither human being nor circumstance has the right to turn us from the higher road.