How To Get Ultimate Revenge On Your Enemies

How To Get Ultimate Revenge On Your Enemies

One day, when I was ten years old, I was stick-fighting with my friend in his front yard. He was older, and he had a bigger stick, and I wasn’t particularly good at stick warfare to begin with, so he won.

I was pissed. He always won, and I was tired of it.

Nearby, I saw an even bigger stick. It was closer to me than him. I lunged for it. He knew he couldn’t reach it before me, so he turned and ran inside. I stood under the tree and gave my new weapon a few practice swings. I’d show him a thing or two about stick combat!

After a minute or so, he came out of the house with new weapons: a towel and a bottle of dish soap. I laughed and taunted him, “What do you think you’re going to do with—”

He squirted me in the face with the dish soap.

It got all over my clothes.

It got in my mouth.

It got in my eyes.

It burned like Hell.

I dropped the stick.

He whipped me with the towel.

At this point, all thoughts of revenge were gone. I just wanted to go home. I was defeated, humiliated, and holding back tears because it hurt to cry.

There are two lessons here:

  1. Revenge rarely goes according to plan, and it often causes you to lose more than you gain.
  2. You do not want to get dish soap in your eyes.

Quote Of The Week

“The best revenge is to not be like that.” — Marcus Aurelius

The Price Of Revenge Is Peace

Life is a complex game of power in which you must outwork, outmaneuver, and outlast those who wish to manipulate and exploit you.

Among the most effective ways to control someone is to infuriate them.

If you can strike a person’s ego and stoke the fire of revenge in their hearts, you can draw them down a path of your choosing, like a matador who waves a red flag at a raging bull, then plunges a sword into its flank when it charges him—all according to his plan.

When we pursue revenge, we are like the raging bull, laser-focused on injuring those who injured us with no thought of long-term strategy, or of all that we might sacrifice in our pursuit of petty revenge.

Here’s the thing about revenge: it’s a seductive, deceptive mistress that promises justice and joy, but only delivers pain.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Someone wrongs you, perhaps by deceiving you, stealing from you, or insulting you
  2. You begin to ponder how to get back at them, and the thought of getting revenge stimulates the caudate nucleus, a part of your brain associated with the feeling of reward
  3. You’re faced with a decision: you can either “forgive and forget,” as the cliche says, or you can put your plans for vengeance into action
  4. Here’s where the irony kicks in: studies have shown that when people are wronged and they choose to forgive the wrongdoer and move on, they usually feel better within a few minutes. However, when people are wronged, and then they choose to punish the wrongdoer, their feeling of anger persists long after the event has passed.
  5. For the people who “forgive and forget,” there is no Step 5. However, for those who do exact revenge on their adversaries, additional studies have shown that when they later recall the act of revenge, they experience both the pleasure of justice and the pain of the original injustice all over again, as if it had just happened.

So what does all this mean?

In a nutshell, it means that, when you seek revenge, you might think you’re getting justice and hurting someone who first hurt you, but really, you’re injuring yourself—and not just once, but every time you reflect on your revenge.

Once again, this is an example of modern psychology confirming an ancient principle: forgiveness is freedom.

This is the power of forgiveness—it sets you free from the pain of the past in a way that revenge never can.

Don’t Get Even—Get Over It

Marcus Aurelius was one of the greatest emperors in all of Roman history, despite enduring many betrayals from people he trusted.

Most salient is the example of Avidius Cassius, one of Marcus’s most-trusted generals and friends, who in 175 AD started a coup and attempted to steal the throne from Marcus by deception and violence.

Even worse, rumors abounded that Cassius was acting in accordance with plans he’d made with Marcus’s wife, Faustina the Younger.

There were many letters of correspondence found between Cassius and Faustina, but Marcus refused to read them so that they’d stand no chance of stoking a fire of revenge in his heart.

Marcus expressed many times during the conflict that it was his greatest desire to show grace to his old friend. He avidly hoped that Cassius would neither die in combat nor commit suicide in shame—as was the custom after a failed uprising—so that Marcus could eventually forgive him in person.

Eventually, however, one of Cassius’s own troops killed him, cut off his head, and sent it to Marcus as a gesture of loyalty. Marcus shed tears at the news of his friend’s death and refused to view his remains.

At some point, Marcus wrote in his Meditations this simple phrase: “Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”

It’s this attitude that allowed him to stay calm in the den of snakes that made up the Roman political landscape. It’s this attitude that made him a loving father, husband, and ruler, beloved by his people, and admired by history.

Most importantly, it is this attitude that allowed him to resist the twisted temptress of revenge.

So, how do you get ultimate revenge on your enemies?

As Marcus wrote in his private journal, don’t be like that.

This is my encouragement to you: decide now, before bad things happen to you, to choose forgiveness over revenge, so that the next time darkness falls upon your life, you can be the light.

Question Of The Week

Is there anyone in your life who you want to “get even” with? Perhaps they mistreated you in some way, or humiliated you publicly, or both, and more.

Does the satisfaction you feel when you imagine revenge outweigh the pain of dwelling on the past?

Do you think it would be better to get revenge, or to let the past go and move on with your life?

Community Announcements

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Book Club

For February book club, we'll be diving into The Immortality Key by Brian Muraresku, which explores the history of psychedelic use in ancient religious practices, including those of the early Christian church. If you want to read along and discuss, join the Discord.

Playlist Of The Month

Lastly, I've had some people express interest in some of my special themed Spotify playlists, so for February, my playlist recommendation for you is Late Night Space Flight, which is a 100-track lofi synthwave playlist that you can study, write, or chill to on frosty February mornings.

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Hey, I'm Chris

I'm a writer, podcaster, musician, and artist creating content to help you live on purpose and die without regrets.

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