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The ultimate revenge

 I’m a great one for shoveling clutter into drawers and closets,  but that just means going through every paper and envelope when I’m looking for something specific.   I didn’t find the address I’d been looking for this morning, but I did discover a scrap of paper with a scribbled quote.  “Resentment must give way to possibility, grief to compassion, and disdain to respect.”  How sad that we tend to be more bent on obsessing over and punishing wrongdoing than affirming the positives.  It’s as if we assume good deeds are not worth noting, but the bad deserves attention.  It’s so easy to slip into the mindset that affirming positives is not important because doing our jobs and being helpful is the expected norm.

       I am saddened by our current focus on obstructionism and negativity.  Even though most of us were taught that a carrot is a stronger incentive than a stick when it comes to motivation, we still operate under the illusion that we can grump and bully our way into creating desired change.  I have broken ranks with many of my Republican brothers and sisters, not because I disagree with many of their concerns but because I disagree with their methods and approach.  In the end, the medium is the message  Condemnation, criticism, hypocrisy, and obstructionism are no substitute for affirming effort and achievement and working together to accomplish a common goal.  Jesus was the supreme psychologist when he suggested we’d do well to love rather than hate our enemies.  After all, isn’t “love your enemies” simply another way of agreeing that “resentment must give way to possibility, grief to compassion, and disdain to respect.”  

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      Oftentimes the best way to inspire good behavior is by overlooking the negative and focusing on the positive.  We humans are communal beings.  We thrive on affirmation and encouragement.  However, when all we hear is blaming and shaming, negative attention is better than no attention.  Yes, positive reinforcement may take longer to bring about desired change, but those changes are long lasting and more effective.  That’s why love is stronger than hate; gratitude is more effective than criticism; please and thank you are considered magic words.  

         One thing seems clear to me this sunny winter morning; I am too old to spend my time brooding over past hurts and plotting revenge for real and imagined slights.  Anger simply doesn’t feel good.  Besides,  it depletes what little energy I tend to have these days.  It’s not that I  excuse or condone much of what happens; it’s just that I don’t have the time or energy to waste on nursing hurt and anger.  Besides, why give the other the satisfaction of knowing they have made me unhappy?  I find refusing to be miserable a much better form of revenge.

       “Resentment must give way to possibility, grief to compassion, and disdain to respect.”  That seems a pretty good mantra for today, Valentine’s Day.  

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Andrea M Theisson
Andrea M Theisson
1 year ago

Good one, Joyce!
Like the Spanish proverb says – “A happy life is the best revenge.”

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