The pitfalls of revenge motivation
There is a place for negative motivation, sort of:
- I don’t want to be tired tomorrow, so I will go to bed on time today.
- I don’t want to get out of breath during vacation, so I will regularly exercise before then.
- I don’t want to make him sad, so I will be careful about how I say things.
But even in these cases there is some evidence that putting the goals in more positive terms is more motivating:
- I want to be able to accomplish x, y, and z, so I will go to bed on time today.
- I want to be able to go on some nice hikes during vacation, so I will regularly exercise before then.
- I want to have a good relationship with him, so I will be careful about how I say things.
Negative feelings or perspectives may seem very motivating at the moment, but they don’t seem to carry people through the same way positive goals do. For one thing, negative feelings are variable. If they are of the angry nature, they actually drain us of energy. It is physically exhausting to be angry very much. The spurts of adrenaline associated with them are usually tainted so that there is high risk of misdirected action, as well an harm. Then, all to often, when the angry energy is gone, there is a sort of depressed lethargy that is anything but motivating.
Revenge cannot coexist with real happiness
I believe that is one of the main problems with the revenge bikini body attitude. Who wants to have to try to stay mad all the time in order to accomplish things? A person may need to work through emotional pain, but revenge is a questionable way to do it. Rather, it seems that an attitude of revenge keeps a person in the emotional pain and is counterproductive to getting on with a happy life.
While I do NOT have personal experience with my significant-other abandoning me, I do have experience with betrayal and abandonment by those close to me that I should have been able to trust. I also have experience with people basically telling me that they looked forward to seeing me fail in an area of my life. I was deeply affected by these things and revenge would have been a *natural* response, human nature being what it is. However, that is not the path I took.
A person who betrays you on a deep level doesn’t care that you are happy. They are either indifferent to your state of being or they like to see you miserable. Living in a state of revenge is playing into their hand, according to their standards. Revenge may seem to give temporary satisfaction, but it does not lead to real happiness.
Also, it is not like justice. Justice involves restitution of wrongs done. Justice is about consequences deserved, but we should always remember that if justice were reliably handed out, we would all be in trouble. Thriving relationships are built on mercy and grace.
Taking care of yourself the right way
There are specific problems with the so-called revenge of getting in shape. Our bodies are for our own use. If they are strong or healthy or of pleasing shape, why would we want to poison that happiness with the negativity of revenge? If taking care of ourselves a certain way would please the one we love, why wouldn’t we do it? Why wait until later, only doing it to spite someone we previously cared about?
I do understand that some people are jerks. They profess love, but will not commit over time and circumstances. That is counter to true love. Time and circumstances can affect our bodies in ways that are beyond our control. Besides that, no one has perfect self-control over the span of his or her life. And, if someone is leaving over body issues, there were probably some early signs that the relationship was questionable. Some people never develop depth of character. They are to be pitied and avoided. Be glad they are gone.
A better way to a bikini body
Instead of spending energy hating or hoping someone else will feel our hate/revenge, we should do what is good for us. Build the relationships that are worth our time and energy. Build our bodies in ways that serve our goals and ability to enjoy life. Revenge is hugely overrated. I would rather have a LEMOI bikini body! Yeah, I just made that up. I pronounce it like it is French: le moi. It stands for:
Loving Every Minute Of It
This would be a good time to refer back to an article that I wrote about How to Buy a Bikini if You are Over 50. I am very glad I live in a time when bikinis are one of the options.