Remorse Prevents Revenge; Humiliation Prevents Bitterness

“I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“I was just playing with ya; you know that, right?”
“I’m sorry, I was wrong when I did that.”

The motive. Somehow it changes everything. From a forgotten detail, to a borderline insult of character, to a practical joke that is taken too far. If the motive wasn’t malicious, it makes a difference.

Or even a simple, sincere apology will quench the fire. Just knowing the crime was an accident or is regrettably acknowledged; it helps. Forgiveness is much easier when it happens sooner rather than later.

But when the damage was indeed intentional, we immediately go into defense mode, or at least struggle to hold back. Our DNA code is imprinted with the phrase “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Revenge is the natural response. Retaliation is easier than healthy communication.

There are many times the offender did mean something by it, they did do it on purpose, and they weren’t just playing around. Then it becomes an issue of both parties trying to prove to each other than the other really is the one who is morally wrong and/or more incompetent.

And that sparks the “who’s better?” contest. A competition that leads to grudges, insults, hurt feelings, arguments, fights, and as the course of history has proven, even war.

Being humble sometimes means being humiliated. That’s why it’s so hard to be wronged.