When you’re a kid, you’re taught to “treat others the way you want to be treated.” You’re told to share at recess or on the playground, to talk nicely to your peers and to never tell a lie.
You believed these things, and besides the time you told your sister that she was an alien because she had an outie belly button, you lived these virtues out most of your young life. That is, until you left your hometown bubble for a new experience—may it be college, an internship/ job opportunity or just an adventure — and it immediately seemed like the claws of the real world came out, in all their sharp, piercing glory.
And you realize the harsh truth: people lie. Boyfriends cheat. Friends use. Parents leave. Sometimes, people just plain suck and there’s really no way around it.
Maybe you thought you’d have the fortunate pleasure of going your entire life without being told to “rot in hell” by a complete stranger, or have your heart manipulated and tortured at the expense of someone’s twisted search for self confidence and fulfillment. Maybe you never thought you’d watch your parent’s marriage crumble, or lose a friend to a new, “cooler” crowd. You never thought you’d get fired because of someone else’s wrongdoing, or that you’d feel left out and alienated by almost an entire city of people. Because that’s just cruel, right?
Sometimes, life just happens. People happen.
And in these moments of emotional turmoil, be it anger, betrayal, lust, sadness, jealousy—it’s so unbelievably easy to turn into them. It’s so simple to let the world get you down, to wallow in self-pity and revel in that lava-hot anger. It’s so easy to feel in the heat of that moment, to grasp onto that anger or sadness like a welcome friend. May it be “tit for tat” or whatever philosophy, but sometimes it seems too simple, and too satisfying even, to stick to your guns and refrain. The temptation of emotional revenge presents itself so perfectly, like your warm bed after an all-nighter—It’s right there—you can almost taste it. Why shouldn’t you just alienate? Or take advantage? Or lie? Or cheat? Why shouldn’t you seek your lawful revenge?
And although sometimes a universal “fuck off” is completely warranted, if not necessary, nothing is more powerful than staying true to who you are. Maybe you need to head bang to Nirvana in your room or whatever it may be to release your demons and just be emo about life—but no revenge will ever be greater than your own happiness. When people just don’t seem to give a fuck, do you. When people’s selfishness colors every life decision—from their relationship with their best friend to the way they treat their dog—be stronger. Channel that negative energy into something positive for yourself — what motivates you? What are your standards? What line won’t you cross?
And when the time comes for those people to cross your path again—may it be a mother, an estranged friend, an old boss—you’ve never faltered. You’ve never forgotten who you are, even for a second. You never let the bullshit of this sometimes harsh world sway you. Just because some people suck, doesn’t mean you have to.