Topic: the endless circle of getting even
Long time no post! Let me begin by apologizing for the long delay. To be truthful I have always tried to maintain integrity with these posts- trying to follow wisdom from a higher source and taking care to not use this as a means to deal with my own stuff. I have had, like so many others a tough couple of months. Lots of ups and downs, joys and disappointment- its been quite a ride. Due to all of that, its been very hard for me to tell the difference between the message of the Universe and my own inner struggles to deal with all the ups and downs. For that reason I held off on posting for a while. I have still seen patterns and gotten messages but was somehow stopped from getting anything clear enough to post. The past few weeks I finally received a message and had it confirmed over and over again to the point I knew it was a post that needed to be done. Then when my own laziness kicked in a friend who reads the posts helped remind me that these posts are important and that I need to get off my butt and start again- she was much nicer about it but that was the message I took from the Universe through her kind words inquiring about the big gap in posts So here we go again!
I have been noticing this pattern since last year. I work part time at a school and last school year I was at a school with wonderful kids- it was a higher poverty school with very urban students. This theme kept coming up over and over and I found myself saying the same thing to student after student, and then to clients in my private practice, and to friends, sometimes even to strangers I did not know at all and also to myself. I found myself observing this pattern of revenge. Seeing this way of thinking where everyone seemed to be trying to get even with someone for something. Not only was it a single act of revenge but then the person who the revenge was targeted on would then feel a need to also get even back…and so the cycle was created.
What I have seen is that for the most part the initial act was something that was done inadvertently. I have come to believe that people are not usually initially trying to hurt eachother for no reason- there is usually a misunderstanding behind the actions that cause hurt. At the school a child gives another child a look, or a rumor is spread that one student said something about another. Then instead of going and asking the “perpetrator” about the incident, instead of making sure there was ill intent, the “victim” just assumed the guilt and malicious intent of the “perpetrator” and began plotting their revenge. The “perpetrator” often times being unaware of what they did, or even that they actually had done anything at all to incite anger then is caught off guard and feels the revenge attack was unprovoked, then they begin seeking their own revenge. Sometimes both sides then lobby others to take their side until large groups are caught in an “us” versus “them” mentality that is hard to break…I mean both sides believe they were in the right and the otherside started it all.
From outside this whole thing seems so silly and so easy to fix. Its just a matter of stepping back and seeing things clearly. seeing it all stemmed from a big misunderstanding. But from the inside, the urge is so strong to not back down. It becomes besides the point that it all started from a misunderstanding or miscommunication…all that matters is that “we” are right and the “others” must pay for the wrongs they have done.
When I explain it like this it is so easy for all of us to sit back and say ” that is so silly, people need to just let go of their ego or see the bigger picture” but when we are honest with ourselves we have all been in this same scenerio many times. Heck some of us may be in the middle of it right now. This is not something limited to urban youth, although sometimes they are the group we find it easiest to see the silly nature of this cycle in, especially gang related violence- that is this cycle taken to an extreme. This same cycle spans across age, across race, across gender, across economic status..it is a human condition and frankly a human flaw…and we have all had or still have it to varying degrees.
The saddest part about this whole cycle, the thing that is truly only apparent to the people outside the cycle is that basically by engaging in it we are truly only hurting ourselves. The energy, the negative thoughts, the planning, the self limiting it takes to plan revenge, to get even ends up often making us feel more drained and does not bring the happiness and satisfaction we think it will. Many times those revenge plans boom-a-rang and smack us back in our own faces. The best part is to watch that happen and then see the revenge seeker get even more mad at the “perpetrator”. They say things like ” now look at what he did, now I am really going to get him” and begin planning even more ways to get even, seeing the self inflicted fallout of their backfired revenge as something the ‘perpetrator” did instead of seeing it was their own anger and revenge seeking that caused them pain.
When we step back from this cycle and try to disconnect from the emotional fuel that keeps the need for revenge burning we can see how unhappy all this revenge seeking truly makes us. Masters who have learned non violence and can forgive people for their wrongs, have done so by making a choice to disengage in this cycle. They have seen how being a part of the cycle of revenge only can bring more pain and suffering. By disengaging they find peace and inner satisfaction. It is that cycle that keeps us in bondage. The way to break free is to make a choice to not participate in it anymore. When we begin to get sucked in, to remind ourselves to take a moment to see what is going on and to seek peace and reconnection instead of thinking happiness will come through getting even or ” letting that person know how it feels”.
Happiness comes from within, unhappiness comes from being so stuck in our own perceptions that we think they are the only way to see the world. Opening up to another’s view allows for understanding and forgiveness. It may mean you still disagree, but you now disagree with understanding and that allows space for compromise or to simply agree to disagree, without needing to force our will on another or get even with them.
As I talked to one little girl I worked with as she was telling me about her plan to get even, I asked her what the person she sought revenge on would think and what they would do..she said “well she will probably do it back to me” and I said ” what will you do?” and she said ” I will get her twice as bad then” and I asked again ” what will she do?” and she said “she will probably do something to me”. I then asked ” when will it end?” and she replied ” I don’t know”. I then asked ” what if you just decide to move on and let it go, focusing on people who are kind to you and on other things besides this person you do not get along with?”. She replied ” I can’t do that”. I asked “why?”. She replied ” because then she would win”. I asked what that means and she could not answer. I then asked ” what are you getting from this, is it making you happy?” and she said “no, but it will when I get even”. I said ” you have gotten even, but you still do not seem happy”. She just sat and looked at me and I said ” Can you be the person who breaks this cycle?” and she said “no, that’s just how things are in the world” and I replied ” I do not want to be a part of THAT world I hope you can join me in my world its much happier here”.
This is not just a message for that little girl. It is for couples who are stuck in trying to make their partner feel their pain, for parents and children trying to assert their will, for friends, co workers, rivals, classmates anyone who finds themselves stuck in the cycle. Its our choice as to the world we want to live in, its our creation-ALWAYS.
As always this is a continual work in progress. We find we are able to do it in some situations with some people and then months later we find a new situation that draws us unwittingly back into that old cycle again. The point to these messages is to bring awareness to a pattern, to shed light on to practices and ideas that help to create happiness and freedom for all of us. I write these things not as an expert at them but as a student who is also learning how to work with these ideas just as all of you are. Awareness is the first step towards deeper long lasting changes. So whether you find yourself in this cycle right now, or find you are being drawn in sometime from now..try to take that step back to create awareness of what is going on…try to see the big picture and see were the cycle began and look for ways to stop the cycle. This message is not about letting people have their way all the time. .. its not about always giving in but it is about trying to create understanding. It is ok to confront people when you feel they are doing things that hurt you or are not right, but be open to their true intentions and do not always assume they are trying to hurt you or others, or trying to create problems. I find we are all just doing our best with what we have and what we know- sometimes giving knowledge is all it takes to break the cycle. In the end it only takes one side to stop the whole never ending cycle of revenge and create peace.
Here is wishing you all a month of peace and understanding in your relationships and your lives.