Getting Even

No one likes being treated unfairly. Holding on to negative memories, as Author Eknah Easwaran suggests, “crowd together and form a mob”. This mob-like mentality contributes to resentment as well as unkind behavior. All-too-often the response and outcome is one of the following:

Natural Response and Unintended Consequences
Get even - Does not even the score/offense and makes you just as bad as
Revenge - Injures another and puts you below him and eventually destroys you
Hate - Puts you below your enemy and boomerangs onto you.
Ignore - Gives you a one-upmanship attitude of arrogance and self-righteousness.
Pity - Victimization. Sets you up to be used and abused again and again.

Aretha Franklin sang, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet, love. That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” Certainly a show of love to an offender is to forgive. To ‘get even” in a way that is beneficial for offended and offender.

Supernatural Response and Result
Forgive - Sets you free. Releases the offender to see his/her wrongs and allows for needed restitution

Why not take the high road to getting even? Rather than focusing on the perpetrator’s shortcomings, choose to think back on his/her good qualities. Acknowledge that everyone is flawed and fabulous; the offender as well as yourself. The idea is to literally change one thought for another thought.

Just as a carpenter uses a smaller nail to drive out a large one, so too we can use a positive thought to drive out a negative one. Take a step beyond positive thinking to re-thinking our common humanity. Take one’s self out of the middle of the conflict and become an objective observer that sees pluses and minuses on both sides. And graciously give the benefit of the doubt.

This strategy may take practice and I think you will find it well worth the effort.

Here’s a hint: Switch your verbiage from “It’s so hard” to “It’s not easy”. Say those two phrases out loud and monitor your body’s response. Seeing it as “so hard” tenses for the difficult, whereas “it’s not easy” relaxes and seems doable.

Set a mental watch to be aware of your thoughts. When you start to slide into old patterns, early awareness keeps you from going all the way back to square one. Eventually, ‘square one’ gets closer; say, ‘square 9’! And all your relationships are more harmonious.

Note: This approach has broad applications – to yourself, others in generals, to those in particular, to your problems, to your work, to health, to the world as a whole…. You get the idea. And may your song of love be sweet.