I have this vivid memory from when I was in fourth grade.
It was during recess, and I was about to go back to my seat when I felt a tug on my ponytail. I turned around and saw Grace (the irony, am I right?) smirking. "You hair's so pretty I just wanted to touch it," she said in a Mean Girl tone. "Oh, but yours is prettier," I replied as I roughly pulled her hair too.
And so she pulled mine again, and on and on it went until our teacher caught us. (Unrelated: My scalp suffered that day.)
The thing is, I've always been a fighter.
I'd glare at and talk back to rude and catcalling strangers. I'd write an overly negative review when I think I've been fooled by an online seller. And I've bagged the best debater award in a couple of small debate competitions back in high school and college.
I'm not bragging, though. It's somehow the opposite. I'm confessing.
I like winning—not only in silly contests but also in simple conversations and serious life circumstances. So when someone hurts me, my initial response is to want them to feel the same pain they caused.
Let's be honest. It's easy to say, "turn the other cheek."
Until you're the one who has to actually do it.
But giving into the desire to get even, as satisying as it seems, could harm not only the other person but ourselves too. It could eat away at our peace and drive us to do things we never would've done, and if not controlled, it could even destroy our lives.
The world teaches us to treat others the way they treat us.
Somebody ignored your text and didn't respond for 3 hours? Once they reply, ignore them back for 6 hours to give them a taste of their medicine.
They didn't acknowledge you or give you credit for the work you put in? Next time you're in charge, don't recognize their efforts too.
It's like an exhausting game—and no one wants to lose.
But I think there's a better way to live than this. I was watching Seinfeld last night (the GIF in this post is from that show), and it reminded me of this note that I wrote to myself earlier this year: