The Best Revenge Isn’t Happiness

Cristina Gottardi

If you’re anything like me, you’re watching the end of another summer without romance drawing closer. Maybe, like me, you spent the entire summer looking under all the wrong rocks for some sort of earth-shaking, weight-lifting love affair that could convince me that all of the pain and heartbreak associated with this search was worth it. Maybe you were just looking for someone who could help remove the bad taste leftover in your mouth from a bad break-up. Maybe, like me, you’re deciding to temporarily relax on the quest for love after a winter romance ended abruptly when his ex-girlfriend came back from Chile.

I threw myself out there, despite the fear of failure and rejection, determined to push boundaries and test comfort levels, but when I reeled in that line weekend after weekend, there wasn’t even a nibble on the bait to convince me that all of this effort was worth it. I summited mountains to prove I could, I worked insanely long hours to prove that my body could handle it. I made up my mind to walk away from people who made me feel like I was hard to love and easy to replace.

The other day I was massaging my sore muscles and marveling at my latest feat:a ten and a half mile hike in the White Mountains that I did with my dog and it occurred to me that the pride I felt was being misdirected towards the men who had scorned me. I wanted them to see my happiness and pride and know that I was doing great, and I wanted my happiness to be the revenge I felt I was owed, to replace the closure I would never get.

Somewhere out there on Tumblr is a stock image of a woman on a mountain top with the sun setting on the background, and the caption is “The best revenge is happiness” and if there is a bigger eye roll than mine to be found, I challenge you, the reader, to find it.

It’s time we stop treating moving on as a journey to achieve revenge, because it taints any happiness we may find, any people we may meet and any joy we’re bound to discover within ourselves. Cope with a break-up or heartache however you need to; get drunk on Monday nights because it’s reckless and spend Tuesday at work miserable. Go on dates with men who seem like the wrong one and be okay if they are. Hike mountains to prove you can make it to the top, and go back to the bottom to show the world that you’re a woman who finishes what she starts.

The best revenge isn’t happiness, and it’s not being able to show someone who hurt you that despite them, you’re doing alright. That guy who never called after the second date doesn’t care that you’re happy, but there will be people who come into your life and choose to stay because your happiness is something they want to share. Pain is fleeting, this heartache will be temporary and your happiness, once discovered from within, will be last as long as you let it. TC mark

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