Revenge Is The Worst Revenge

You know what they say: success is the best revenge. At first glance, the motto makes sense — ’tis better to focus your energy on something productive and meaningful after a disappointing defeat than to drown your sorrows in 12 cartons of ice cream. However, while I agree with this sentiment to an extent, the use of the word “revenge” makes me a little uneasy in this case. Let me explain why.

A lot of people use the phrase “success is the best revenge” after a difficult breakup. These are the generally the kinds of people who like to set goals and base their self worth in their achievements. The extra time spent focusing on the relationship is now shifted to other areas of their lives, such as academics or careers — which is a perfectly healthy way to cope — but in the back of their minds, there’s always the idea that by becoming successful, they are spiting the person they broke up with.

I notice this with girls especially all the time. For example, one girl might kick up her exercise routine after a breakup, but instead of doing it for her own personal fulfillment, she motivates herself with the idea that “when he sees how good I look, he’s going to wish we never broke up.” Others may confide in their friends that they want their exes to see just how happy they are without them.

In my opinion, an ex’s perception of your happiness shouldn’t even factor in to the decisions you make. The relationship is over for a reason, and any time you do something with the intention of making your ex regret the breakup (no matter how noble your actions are), you are only hurting yourself more. By all means, you should focus on self-improvement and empowerment after a painful event in your life, but don’t do it to get back at the other person.

Ultimately, revenge is the worst revenge. Succeed because you want to succeed! 🙂

Kissing Resentment Goodbye

“Always love. Hate will get you every time.” – Nada Surf, Always Love

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Recently, while I was catching up on my trashy reality television, Dr. Drew said something that really resonated with me. As he talked about the remaining bitterness between one teen mom and her baby daddy, he said that resentment is like a poison that one person takes with the intention of hurting someone else.

Of course, as we all know, when you come in contact with something poisonous, it doesn’t really hurt anyone else– it only hurts you. And so it is with resentment. When we waste our energy hating someone (or even disliking them!), we give them power over us. That power can manifest itself in different ways, but one thing is certain: you will walk around with a dark storm cloud over your head as long as you carry that negativity with you.

First, we must recognize that some of our resentments might be a little unfounded. Sometimes, we judge a person too quickly and find ourselves acting overly critical, often out of envy or ignorance. We may not stop to consider the person as a whole or recognize his/her strengths because we are too busy mentally admonishing him or her for every little flaw.

Other times, that resentment may be understandable, aimed toward an ex who broke your heart or a friend who betrayed your trust. However, while you aren’t expected to welcome that person back into your life, letting go of your resentment does make your situation a whole lot easier to deal with. After all, being angry with the other person is not a productive task; it doesn’t help you move on, nor does it really do much damage to anyone but yourself. And why stress yourself out even more, when there are clearly much better ways to spend your time?

So smile. Stop thinking about people who have wronged you. Stop judging people for situations beyond their control. Get rid of that storm cloud (nobody wants to be around you when it’s there!) and enjoy the sunshine. 🙂

Putting Faith in Walls: A Lesson in Strength and Vulnerability

“You know the difference between strength and imperviousness, right? Well, a substance that is impervious to damage doesn’t need to be strong. When you and I met, I was an impervious substance. Now I’m a strong substance.” – Bones

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Whether or not we choose to admit it, every single one of us has put up a metaphorical wall at one point or another. When we separate ourselves from difficult situations and keep others at arm’s length, we use these “walls” to protect ourselves from the world around us. By not allowing anything to hurt us, we are (as Dr. Brennan of Bones might suggest) impervious to damage.

With the threat of possible failure in mind, a lot of people choose to never step out of their comfort zones or try new things. After all, why would anyone logically want to enter a relationship if they were aware of the risk of heartbreak that comes with it? Likewise, why apply for the job you want without a 100 percent guarantee that you will get it?

All too often, we believe that by avoiding any possible situation that could lead to disappointment, we are doing ourselves a favor — in essence, we think that we are “maintaining our strength.” Little do we realize, however, that being strong does not mean lacking vulnerability. (Tweet this!)

Our strength lies in the unexpected disappointments, the harsh rejections, the complicated and messy breakups, and the way we handle them all. We become strong when we cope with the challenges that life presents us, usually when we open ourselves up and accept that we cannot control the outcome of every situation.

As Ray Lamontagne sings in his song Be Here Now, “Don’t put your trust in walls ’cause walls will only crush you when they fall.” To me, this means that the walls you put up now will not protect you forever. Eventually, we will all struggle with something, but if we have never truly opened ourselves up to failure before, we haven’t already built up that strength that allows us to overcome our circumstances. In this case, without our impervious shells, we are unable to fend for ourselves.

It is easy for us to put our trust in walls and distance ourselves from the world. However, my dear readers, this week I would like to challenge you to take a small leap of faith in just one area of your life. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

Heartbreak and The Latin Deli

“And the heart, like a well-constructed little boat, will resume its course toward hope.” – Judith Ortiz Cofer, “To a Daughter I Cannot Console,” The Latin Deli

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Today in my Women in Literature class, as we broke into groups to discuss our latest anthology The Latin Deli, I couldn’t help but become drawn to its poem called “To a Daughter I Cannot Console.” Although I’m not by any means a fan of poetry, the works of Judith Ortiz Cofer really caught my attention, especially because of the real life situations and relationships that her book brings to light. In this particular poem, a woman (the speaker of the poem) tries to take care of her heartbroken teenage daughter. The speaker tries to explain to her daughter that things will be all right in the end, but naturally, the daughter does not believe this because of the pain she is currently going through.

Of course, when the speaker tries to remember the boy who broke her own heart at sixteen, she can barely even recall his face. Ultimately, she realizes that while “the storm surging within will abate – like all acts of God,” her daughter is still too young to realize this, and will have to undergo those hard feelings herself. As difficult as it is to watch her daughter endure such a disappointment, the speaker recognizes that her daughter will have to learn from life experience rather than merely a mother’s calming words.

The significant things in our lives are always changing. (Tweet this!) The things that are important to us on one day aren’t always the same things that are important to us a year later. When I look back at my high school experience, for example, I realize that the boy who broke my heart in a Spiderman costume right before Homecoming has become just a memory, a random story I’ve told a few friends in college (you can’t make these things up).

In other words, all of us have — at one point or another — been that sixteen-year-old girl, inconsolable over someone or something that has hurt us. But after the wounds have healed, we begin to forget that they were ever really there in the first place. We take on the role of the mother in the poem, optimistic that the passage of time will make everything better.

Therefore, when things haven’t gone our way, we have to keep on moving like that “well-constructed little boat,” and remind ourselves that soon enough, many of our disappointments will disintegrate into the stories we rarely think to tell.