I don’t believe in revenge. I don’t care what you have done to me, I won’t try to “get you back” or “get even”. What’s the point? Any attempt by me to exact revenge, or punish you, only gives your offence justification. I won’t do that. I only have so much time and energy to give. So why waste that on looking for revenge? I have more important things to do. I put my focus on moving on and recovery.
Revenge is an ugly thing, and it leads to equally appalling actions and consequences. I’m sure half the motivation for trolls and other online abuse is because of some sense of “revenge”. Revenge can also lead to obsessive behaviours and, in the extreme, criminal acts.
I think the saddest crimes I see are of people who end up in gaol because they had exacted some form of revenge on someone who they feel had hurt them in some way. Even sadder when there was actually no real hurt in the first place. Sometimes the act of revenge results in a punishment worse than the damage or crime the revenge was exacted against. That’s the saddest type of revenge.
I try not to feel the need for revenge. On a small scale, it can be as simple as applying some empathy. I remember going out the back to bring in some washing from the line, only to discover that a pair of jeans and some undies had gone missing. My first reaction was one of anger, but after a while I just thought to myself, anyone who has to resort to stealing a pair of undies and some jeans obviously has more need of them than I do. I could have spent the rest of the day asking my neighbours if they had seen anyone acting suspiciously, or going to the police. But instead, I chose to accept what had happened to me and move on. I felt better for it.
Even if something more serious happened to me, or someone close to me, I would try and resist the desire to exact revenge. Don’t get me wrong; I would hope that someone who hurt me or my family would eventually be accountable for their actions in a court of law, and if justified, serve some time in gaol. But I don’t like the idea of our prison system being used as a “punishment”. Unfortunately, given the state of our prison system, prison can be a punishment, but that’s not what I want.
When people go to prison, I hope that they can be rehabilitated. Yes, they did something terrible, but what’s the point in punishing people? Just because they did something terrible doesn’t mean someone else has the right to do something wrong back to them. No, if we are to send people to prison, I want it to be because either:
- they need to be isolated from the rest of society until the issues that caused their bad behaviour are addressed and fixed, or
- if they can’t be rehabilitated, to separate them permanently from society, but in a humane and caring way.
The ultimate revenge is the death penalty. I can in no way justify the taking of any human life, and taking a life in the name of “justice” just feels even more wrong. I do not believe in “a life for a life”. If you kill someone, and you are not remorseful or capable of rehabilitation, then I want you off the streets, but not as a punishment. I just want you, and our community, protected from yourself. And I certainly don’t want anyone else involved, no matter how indirectly, in the death of another human being to achieve some sense of revenge. It just doesn’t make sense.