At some time almost all of us have suffered insults or worse from others and have secretly longed for a way to even the score, to avenge ourselves and gain retribution for the wrongdoing. And while vindication may temporarily soothe our feelings, such acts have the potential to harm us more than the offender.
It’s the “burning bridges” concept. We just never know when such actions may come back to “bite” us, when we may need to call upon the offender. Bridges can be crossed, that is, we can walk away from bad or obnoxious behavior; but if we “blow” the bridge, we lose the option of returning; and those on the other side are forever exiled. It doesn’t matter whether the situation involves friends, family, or business associates. It’s always best to seek the “high ground” from which we both gain a better perspective of the terrain and separation from the fray.
Maintaining your cool keeps you in control of the both the situation and your reaction, and it allows you to exercise your options. When you are wronged you always have choices.
• You can go into attack mode.
• You can try to shame the offender.
• You can ignore the offense.
• You can look inward to see if your actions or behavior may have contributed to the conduct.
• You can reach out to the offender and try to remove the differences that separate you.
Some might object, saying that to ignore the offense or to placate the offender shows weakness. I would suggest the opposite; that it shows both strength and character. And in so doing we are the ultimate winners. By refusing to be drawn into petty or destructive behavior we demonstrate our professionalism and our self-control, and we fail to allow ourselves to be pulled into the black hole of negative thought and action.
Sure, revenge may be sweet, but like saccharine, it leaves an aftertaste—and also like saccharine, it’s artificial and bad for your health.
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