A quote attributed to the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. It was also used in the movie “Conan The Barbarian” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, released May 14, 1982. In the movie, Conan’s family is killed when he is a child. He grows up, training to be a warrior so he can then ultimately avenge his family.
Sometimes the best revenge is just setting yourself free from those who have harmed you, but ultimately it is to become stronger from the experience.
I was recently discussing a situation that had happened a number of years ago. It had to do with extremely disrespectful behavior from a distant family member. In short, their behavior towards me was to snub and ignore me at every possible opportunity. At the time, I wasn’t really in the emotional space to blatantly tell her to “f*ck off”, although she really deserved that. I harbored the resentment and suffered through it. Time passed and I have since been able to tell my story, have the situations acknowledged and gained defense on my behalf. Her punishment, if you will, has been to lose favor and attention. Something that pisses her off more than anything. I refuse to have any contact with her, and she is not allowed in my home, and this is respected by my sweetie. We can’t cut her off completely, due to the complicated family dynamics, but she doesn’t get her Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving either.
I never did anything to deserve this treatment, which is acknowledged and defended by my sweetie. If anything, I was kind and thoughtful of her from the very beginning, even when she acted anything but. She’s rude and mean and that’s that. And yes, I’m still pretty pissed at her for her actions.
What I have come to realize is that I can be thankful for the way she acted. Because of her, I am stronger. The various encounters taught me that I do not have to be someone’s stomping ground. My feelings, my very self are important and I MATTER. I don’t get to be beat up by anyone any more. I picked up the sword of Conan to avenge myself. A sword doesn’t need to be used to hack someone’s head off. I sword says “I am protecting myself. I am strong and powerful, but I am a peaceful warrior until I am harmed. Then you will suffer my wrath.” (Again, without the severing of heads, although that can be done metaphorically.)
Even though we are spiritual beings, it is important to remember some truths. Looking for the good in everyone does not mean you should be blind to their faults or allow them to misuse your kindness. Some people are just inherently mean and you don’t have to suffer them. Protecting yourself and being assertive is a spiritual practice. Saying No to peoples’ demands and bad behavior is honoring yourself. If you don’t honor yourself first, you cannot honor someone else. You cannot fix people. When you stand your ground, people will learn to respect you even if they don’t like you.
And, whatever doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger.