By: Trever McKenzie ~Copy Editor~
We all have that person in our lives, that one person who has wronged us in a way that is unforgivable. If you don’t have this kind of person in your life, consider yourself lucky. They storm through your life and leave mayhem behind. To you, they are a tornado. That person’s impact on your life definitely changed how quickly you trusted another person close to you and you most likely felt some anger towards them. For the more enraged among us, revenge might have been considered or enacted.
I discourage revenge for an obvious reason: it solves nothing. Yes, this is a lesson we’ve all learned many times, and it can be frustrating to sit idly after being hurt by someone else. Movies portray this too often – the protagonist has been wronged by the most popular person in school, and in the end, they exact revenge by ruining their prom dress or something. What never really gets shown is what happens afterwards – the backlash.
Think about the last time you tried to get revenge on someone and succeeded. What did that do to your already-strained relationship? I’d say it became worse. You distanced yourself further, you took away the grounds for forgiveness and you probably glared at them or left whenever you saw them. Is that the kind of relationship you want? Do you want to live your life leaving behind a trail of burned bridges?
Now, there are relationships that absolutely need to be severed. Abusive relationships are detrimental to your mental and physical health, and leaving them will only improve your quality of life. However, for the friendships that were ruined because of a person’s bad decisions, these should be handled with an open mind. It’s essential to empathize with the other person to understand why they did something that hurt you. Most of the time, it wasn’t to hurt you.
Have you ever been dumped? It sucks – of the difficult things in our lives, getting dumped can be hard. It feels like a betrayal. We are vulnerable, exposing this person to a side of ourselves we normally don’t show, and they hurt us at our most exposed. This makes us angry, and we do outlandish things to get back at them. Break ups can be ugly – there’s yelling, there’s angry Facebook messaging and, in extreme cases, there’s destruction of personal possessions or even physical harm. None of this will ever be as productive as accepting that the relationship wasn’t meant to be.
In Republic of Plato, there’s a prominent quote that has stuck out to me ever since I read it: “Should we not assert… that when they are harmed, they become worse with respect to human virtue?” Think about that relationship that you worsened – was it worth it? Would you not have felt better if you had discussed the problem at hand and forgiven each other? And did getting revenge on them actually make them learn anything about the mistakes they may have made? Or did you just burn the bridge without a second thought?
The next time someone wrongs you, try to solve the problem and fix the friendship. Part of growing up is learning to forgive people. It’s not weak to forgive – you need a strong mind to trust someone again.