Why brooding over things and plotting revenge (!) never has the desired effect...
Posted on 15th March 2023 at 07:30
It’s an easy trap to fall into and one the Little Monster in our Heads is very happy to “help” us fall into. And, once gravity has done its bit (!), it can be an incredibly difficult one to get out of, as we’ve all found out to our cost at some time or other…
Playing whatever it is on a loop, over and over again. Feeling all the emotions. Re living it in all its gruesome detail in our mind’s eye. Hearing what was said – or, more likely we think was said, which isn’t necessarily the same thing (!) – and all the other details, just to make sure it “hits the spot” and hurts a bit more…
Often, it doesn’t stop at brooding over things, but quickly moves on to being an opportunity for revenge, whether actual or imagined. Going through endless different scenarios of ways to “get even” or salvage our honour in some way, until the trap has become our prison.
The question is whether all this effort and focus has the desired effect. Allowing the situation to be easily resolved for everyone involved and in a positive way. Perhaps even gaining some useful insights into whatever happened and how to prevent a recurrence in the future. Sadly, there are no prizes for guessing the answer. No. Most definitely “no.”
So, why do we carry on doing it?
Well, as so often is the case, the answer is that we’re not the ones doing it. Someone else is. And we’re not talking about anyone else involved in whatever it is. No, it’s much closer to home. The Little Monster in our Heads.
Even worse, it’s yet another example of backwards thinking. That, somehow, brooding over something that has already happened will change it. Well, sadly, what’s done is done and can’t be changed. So, going over and over it isn’t going to make any difference to the outcome at all. Full stop. End of story.
However, what it will do, is drag the memory of it into the present where we’ll experience it again – or more likely over and over again – in all its gruesome detail. So, rather than experiencing it once and then leaving it where it belongs – in the past – we experience it over and over again, along with our own spin or selective memories. Each time subtly embroidering it in our own unique way and ingraining it just a little further into our reality. Making it hurt just a little more.
And, while the Little Monster in our Heads may try to convince us that it’ll hurt everyone else involved, sadly, the reverse is true. The only one it hurts is us, with the negative energy and emotions it generates.
From there, it’s only a short step to plotting – or carrying out (!) – some form of revenge. And, again, the question is who is this hurting? Ourselves or someone else. And, sadly, it’s always ourselves. “They” – whoever they may be – are completely oblivious to all this plotting and planning or, often, that there was an issue in the first place.
As someone so eloquently put it:
“It’s like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”
So, having highlighted yet another piece of backwards thinking, where are we going with this?
Well, once again, it’s deceptively simple. It’s leaving the past in the past, where it belongs.
However much we’d like to change the past, we can’t, and brooding over it – or plotting revenge (!) – isn’t going to change it. This doesn’t mean we can’t pay a quick visit to the past to look at whatever it is with a fresh set of eyes. A little more objectively. Not from the “They were wrong and I was right” perspective, but as an opportunity to understand ourselves – and everyone else involved – a little better. Perhaps to see whether our beliefs or actions need a bit of an overhaul, so we don’t fall into a similar trap in the future. After all everything is sent to help us, IF we allow it to.
Leaving the past in the past is also known as forgiveness. And, “yes” we know this word has all sorts of religious overtones and hints of being impossible to obtain. The good news, as so often is the case, is that it’s deceptively simple. We just have to remember to do it instead of falling into the same old trap again. If in doubt, leave it alone…
As always, the choice is yours.
Picture by unknown author
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