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Will It Make the Hurt Go Away?

Will It Make the Hurt Go Away?


I have a client who recently talked with me about a friend who he felt had betrayed him. 'The only way I can feel better,' he said, 'is to make him feel the same hurt that he caused me.' It's human to feel angry at someone who has hurt you and to want to get back at that person in some way. But causing someone else pain tends to have a boomerang effect that can end up challenging your integrity and peace of mind. Instead of striking back, here are some tips to get through those moments when the urge for revenge threatens to get the best of you: ''Ask yourself, Is the person who wronged me paying rent to take up that much space in my brain? This is a particularly good question if you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time fantasizing about revenge and plotting for the right moment to achieve it. Revenge may turn into a poison that can cause you to let loose on people who had no intention of hurting you, lead you to damage relationships, and make you look petty and vindictive. Walking around with that much negativity inside can leave you bitter and isolated and drain you of valuable energy. Is holding all that anger worth the risk? ''Remind yourself, Not everything that happens is about me. When you assume that everything that happens around you is somehow directed at you, it is likely you'll find a threat lurking around every corner'from the guy who accidentally bumps into you on the street to the stressed-out coworker who snaps at you when you ask a question. Wouldn't it be a relief not to be the center of the universe? ''Repeat the mantra, Success is the best revenge. I actually prefer to interpret this saying in a more positive light. When your energy is directed toward being the best person you can be'both for yourself and for the people you care about'you don't have time to dwell on the past. Focus on your own personal growth and put your energy toward improving your present and your future. ' Remind yourself, Everyone is trying to do the best he can, even if it doesn't seem like it when she or he is projecting self-interest and negativity. ''And perhaps most important, have compassion, starting with yourself. If you can stop being so hard on yourself when you make a mistake, it will be easier to forgive others for theirs. After all, we're all in this together. McClain is a licensed counselor in New York City with a specialty in coping with chronic and life-threatening health conditions. His books include The Complete Idiot's Guide to Breaking Bad Habits and Empowering Your Life With Joy, and he is a frequent contributor to health-related publications.

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