To refrain from imitation is the best revenge. – Marcus Aurelius
What does that mean?
Another classically brief quote. But it is packed with meaning. It is talking about revenge and how to best achieve it. However, it doesn’t say to serve it cold, or when they aren’t looking for it.
The quote is about restraint. It’s about not seeking revenge, or at least not seeking revenge by doing what they did to you. It’s about not sinking down to their level, it’s about taking the high road.
After all, if you return their injury with the same thing, are you any better than they are? Aren’t we trying to become better people? Aren’t we trying to raise ourselves out of the mud, and do the right thing?
Besides, just think of all the effort they will have to put in, as they will constantly be looking for your revenge when they think that you think that they least expect it. Their heads will be spinning with the effort, as they wallow in the mud they so readily sling.
And you will be miles away, with a faint smile, devoting your energy to something useful and helpful to yourself and others. Now THAT is revenge. 😉
Why is not sinking to their level important?
For most events which would lead you to want to take revenge, there are forms of recourse already defined. Whether it’s telling a parent, an adult, the teacher, or the police, there is something you can do without sinking to their level.
Yes, there are times when you want to be tough enough to just take it. If so, then be sure that is all you do. Take it, laugh it off, and go on with your life. While there may be a short-lived emotional victory, in the longer term, revenge usually does more damage than good, for both parties.
The last part of the introduction was about the mental energy wasted in trying to revenge yourself, or avoid the revenge of another. Don’t become that person. There are so many other things you could do with your strength, your energy, your time, and your passion.
Where can I apply this in my life?
We all get frustrated. At the person in front of us in line who cannot figure out what they want, or how to pay for it. At the other people in traffic, whether we’re on the way to work or to have fun. At the people we care about at home, at work, or on our favorite sports team.
But what do we do about this frustration? You might want to slap them, or run them off the road, but that’s revenge at their level. That’s not the best way to do it, at least according to today’s quote. What does that leave us to do?
That is where things get interesting. Do you even seek revenge? If so, can you do it at a much higher level? Sometimes you can gain some level of satisfaction by outing them as the person responsible for whatever it was which happened to you.
Other ways might include a more cerebral method of revenge (use big words to insult or otherwise tell them off), or simply doing well despite their meddling. Personally, I’ve preferred the less aggressive, at least most of the time. What about you?
Being more a creature of logic, I realize that in almost every case, seeking revenge only makes things worse for both parties. Yes, it is can feel good to make sure they get what they deserve, but at what expense to you, your energy, your time, and even your sanity.
Why do I mention sanity? Some people are very good at keeping score, and will go to great lengths to make sure they ‘get even’ with you, even at great expense to them. It becomes an obsession. They become a stalker and basically go crazy.
It’s used on sit-coms from time to time, the neighbor rivalry which get out of hand, and becomes an obsession. In real life, there are consequences, both within the neighborhood, and in the courts of law. The same goes for other out-of-control revenge based activities.
We can be strong, and ignore or reject it or at least try our best to do so. The point is that we have a choice. Even with physical and financial injury. We can choose to take the path of mutual destruction, or we can try to find another way.
Refraining from doing the same thing they did is the better route. To do as they did, that’s more like grade school or high school. Most of us are better than that, even those still in school, right?
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marcusaure133643.html
Photo by Rukmal Kirtisinghe
- The sour taste of revenge… (onlifeandhope.com)
- Why I Write (karlaphobia.wordpress.com)
- Air Out Your Soul – Things to Consider Before Taking Revenge (mywarminghouse.com)
- Revenge, by Taha Muhammad Ali (dadpoet.wordpress.com)