I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the phrase “the best revenge is living well.” In the most recent article from Marc and Angel, the feed of which I keep on my feedly for days when I need a lift, they call it “seek[ing] positive by revenge by living well.” Having read this a few days ago, and the resonance I felt with the statement, I started to chew on it… (I generally find that my brain always has to have something to work on, so I might as well make it something I can use on my blog.)
The interesting thing about the phrase is that “living well” doesn’t just mean looking like you’re living well. Everyone can make it look like they’re “living well.” Everyone can put on a smile and call all their acquaintances and perform the “living well” role. They actual success, the thing that creates positive revenge, is when it’s not “living well.” When it’s not focused on creating any appearance, and certainly isn’t occurring in relation to any good or bad thing that may or may not have happened. Actually living well, to create revenge, must let go of the need to have revenge in the first place.
This is hard. This is hard when I’m hurt, when I’m angry, when I’m tired and busy and stressed out because I haven’t applied to any jobs in a week and have four projects to work on tomorrow and only 24 hours in which to do them. It’s hard when life, for all its merits, gives me a lot of reasons to want revenge, and few reasons to feel like living well is something I can achieve. It’s most difficult because I’ve always known that the moments when I give up the “best revenge” part and actually start living well, means giving up on something important to me. It means losing an emotional connection, releasing my death clutch on the security blanket of pain that, even though it hurts, still reminds me that I care.
I don’t like giving up on things. I don’t like thinking I can do something, and realizing I’m simply not capable of doing it, because my talents, varied and dynamic as they are, simply can’t make X, Y, or Z work out. This isn’t unique, because the simplest way of saying it is: nobody likes to fail. Failure implies a personal weakness. But, failure, especially in relationships, is as two-sided as the relationship itself. As much as I fuss and fight, I can’t make anyone want to be my friend, and I can’t make anyone stay my friend.
I can, though it probably sounds cheesy to all of you, but hell, I was in therapy to work on this very issue, be my own friend though, and stay busy until the inner maelstrom dies down and I can let go of that poisoned security blanket.