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Payback and Revenge
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"Payback" is a common sentiment. He did it to me, so I'm going to pay him back by doing the same thing to me.

But studies show that payback becomes revenge. People think that they are paying back in equal severity to the harm that was done to them, but in reality they escalate the conflict.

If someone has hit, the other hits back harder. If someone is insulted, the returning insult is more scurrilous and bitter.

Even when, under laboratory experimental conditions, participants in the experiment were told that the outcome was always an escalation, and were asked to hit back no harder than they were hit, in fact their returning blows were measured as swifter and harder than the instigators'.

And the kicker? When debriefed, their perception was that they had just paid back what was done to them, no more, no less. They could not tell that they had increased the violence and were astonished when shown the results.

Payback's a bitch.

How many times have you heard, "I don't get mad; I get even." I want to ask: what are you trying to accomplish? What is your ultimate goal? To make the other person sorry? To hurt him? To punish? And what will be achieved, except anger and resentment on both sides. Is that the outcome you desire?

Think about it, then act in a manner that will create the world you want to live in. A world of hate, and fear, and violence--or a world of reconciliation, forgiveness and love. Your choice. Somewhere it says to do good to those who have done harm to you. Maybe they're on to something.

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