The decision to pursue revenge is a personal one.
Arguing against someone’s will to get revenge deals with the bounds of morality. Those philosophical areas of conversation seldom have universal answers. They can only lead to persuasive arguments. We’ve written about why retaliation is a bad idea. However, your decision in this regard is a personal one. Getting revenge can thoroughly increase your level of contentment with the situation you find yourself in. What nobody should strive for whilst getting revenge however, is being incriminated in the process. An effective act of revenge thereby, is one which inflicts damage without increasing your chances of being punished and your actions being reciprocated.
This article is written to remind of you of two things in your pursuit of revenge.
Its goal is to protect you from the effects that your actions have on yourself. From this point forward, moral judgment is cast aside. Your decision to pursue revenge has been made. Now, the focus is to agree on the fact that you should protect yourself in the process. If you agree with this goal, then continue onward.
Come Close, but Do Not Meet or Exceed the Crime
An act of revenge is a reaction to a crime, misdoing, or unfair action committed against you. The goal of revenge is to inflict a pain back to those who’ve inflicted it on us. The desire to inflict pain on those who’ve hurt us makes it difficult to suppress our dark desires, and to not exceed their initial crime with our reaction. In order to keep your hands clean in the aftermath of your vengeful actions, not exceeding the crime committed against you is critical.
The actions people who’ve hurt you take, drawn a line. Come as close to that line as you possibly can in your actions of revenge. However, do not exceed the scope of actions that were used to hurt you. The reasons for not exceeding the initial crime with your acts of revenge are simple on the surface but powerful in their essence. They key is to not lose your label of being a victim. As soon as you cross the line of the initial crime, you lose all the perks that being a victim entails. You lessen the benefits you possess in the legal, social, and personal realms.
You open yourself up to feel personal regret, which is a capable punisher in itself. Should you act vengefully in a manner which one-ups the crime, you invite a further chain of vengeful action to be taken against you. You’d serve to propagate a cycle of warfare. The recipients of your vengeful actions will also have a clear understanding of whether you’ve caused a lesser, equal, or greater amount of damage back to them. It is difficult for them to justify retaliating to your vengeful reaction if it doesn’t come close to their initial crime. They’d serve to incriminate themselves even more than they already have should they react to your less painful act of revenge.
It is difficult to get a clear understanding of where the line we shouldn’t cross is. There are too many specific situations to go through in a single article. However, if you don’t clearly know to be acting below the level of malice that the other’s initial acts have set, do not execute your plans. Be absolutely sure that the actions you’re taking are less malicious in an objective court of opinion.
Stand Down If You Have the Upper Hand
A second thing to note is whether you have the upper hand in the situation at hand. Enacting revenging on those who you have an upper hand over will not be perceived as a moral move on your part. For instance, personally enacting revenge on a child who has thrown an egg on your windshield would be a bad look on your part. The smart thing to do in that instance is to introduce a third party into the picture, one which can enact punishment without you needing to do so yourself. Another example is if you hold a position of authority over the person you’re attempting to get revenge on. A third example is if you’ve already won the battle with the person who has hurt you. Instances of this can include getting a job after a person attempted to lower your chances by spreading gossip, or doing well on a performance after receiving boos from the crowd earlier in the night.
Once you realize that you have the upper hand over the people who have caused you pain, you’ve already gotten your revenge. Their words and actions failed to diminish your position of superiority over them, with your day-to-day acts serving to lock in your success. If you continue on with attempting to get revenge over those you have an upper hand over you will, again, make them the victim. You’ll serve to shift people’s perception over who the bully is in the situation at hand as you’d be seen as already winning over the people you’re attacking.
Realize when you have the upper hand over others in life. Your desire for revenge should diminish when you realize that they’re not better off than you are, even after they’ve acted maliciously toward you. You do yourself more good than harm by allowing your continuous good actions to speak for themselves. The feeling of not needing to respond or reciprocate because we’re already winning is a sweet one. If you have the capacity to indulge in this feeling, don’t ruin it by attempting to gain a petty victory.
Next in line:
In the News
Read our analyses of current events by becoming a Patron.
- How Choosing Your Battles Wisely Affects Your Place in the World
- How People Ruin First Impressions During Small Talk
- How to Handle People Who Mask Ignorance by Taking Over the Conversation
- How to Deal With Needy Managers – A 3-Step Approach
- How to Make Authoritative / Powerful People Like You Quickly