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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

Life is about making, observing, or recovering from awkward social situations. We can't avoid them. Each week, I break down a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic for you to understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) so you know the data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Scoring Victory: Breaking Down Why Success Can Be the Ultimate Form of Revenge


When I was in my mid-20’s, I had a broken heart from an ended romantic relationship.  Although “it was for the best”, it still hurt a lot. When we broke up, I felt stuck in my job as a jail counselor.  I desperately needed a change and had talked about leaving my job for over a year, but didn’t do anything about it. After a few months of meh, I finally found the motivation to take a graduate class, redid my resume, and looked for another job. Nine months later, I finally got out of jail and landed a corporate job in human resources, continued to take graduate classes, and brought my workouts to a whole new level. My broken heart was slowly fusing back together, not because of another relationship with someone else, but I was focused on my own personal and professional development.


Traditional revenge is likely to backfire


Despite being the target of someone else’s bad behavior or painful decision, nothing good will come out of revenge. Everyone has a right to feel those ill feelings when relationships and contracts are broken. However, do we really want to try to jeopardize someone else’s reputation, career, mental health, relationships, and overall well-being? The person who attempts to cancel someone else is likely to look worse in the end.


Focusing on your success is better for your mental health


Revenge was found to have an inverse impact on mental health as well as contribute to depression and anxiety. Another study suggested that forgiveness rather than revenge helped participants to feel rehumanized after hurtful experiences. Forgiveness is all about you moving forward.

Focusing on your success will help you achieve goals


Stop talking about what you want and just do it: write that book, get in shape, make that frivolous purchase, score that new job, try that hobby, book the trip, or finally take that risk. Not focusing on them allows the extra time, energy, and other resources to be all yours.


Focusing on your success is a positive distraction


How would you rather spend your time- improving yourself and doing stuff that energizes you or bringing down someone else? Be so focused on what you have to do next that you don’t have time to shoot daggers towards anyone else.

Focusing on your success will bring more positivity


Negativity breeds more negativity.  People who are scornful and fire cheap shots usually invite more backlash into their lives. For instance, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle felt hurt from their experience with the royal family.  Of course their feelings were legit, but rather than focusing on their new home, family, and contracts in the US, they chose to publicize their family issues, which has since backfired through public ridicule and low approval ratings.  Not to mention an increase in popularity for the royal family.

Focus on your success since nobody really cares about seeking revenge but you


Only people who need lives will voluntarily step in your mess. Most people will want to stay out of your drama. Why bother when people are likely to not be paying attention or care?

What about you?


  • How can you be the best you can be?

  • Who should you stop thinking revengeful thoughts?

Hi Beautiful Readers and thank you for reading this! I'm Dr. Joanne Broder, Media Psychologist, Author, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Please consider me to help you write your memoir, blogs, speeches, e-books, as well as coach you on your dissertation or thesis.  Click here so we can connect!

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