Ever wonder what revenge will feel like? The nostalgia feeling of their pain. When the moral and the immoral wrestle within for a win- a dichotomy of plots pulling at you antagonistically. When no one knows the storms that rage within, however perturbed you may seem. When Edmond Dante, the Count of Monte Cristo seethed in rage and spent years in confinement plotting his revenge, what kept him going was his desire for vengeance and of course, the love he had left behind. In a world where tit-for-tat is the new norm and where one is relegated to the back row of punk status quo if payback is not dished out, it is no wonder seeking revenge against ones foes and those that may have betrayed you seems like a reasonable choice. No one wants to be de-classified to certified punk-ass status and rightfully so. It can hurt and hurt really bad when betrayal and deceit entrench our inner circle. It is even worse if one is blind-sided by it. If we are not careful, we let the pain weigh down on us and may cause you to lose focus. Once that happens, revenge becomes a formidable force. So, here are my top three tips on how to handle being betrayed whether it’s by friends, family or colleagues.

1. Understand why it happened

I think what we need to realize in those instances is that these are mere distractions and emotional turmoil that we must actively fight to free ourselves from. Deceit and betrayal are meant to reveal something about our own choices and ourselves. The truth is without these opposing forces, we do not get to realize our true potential. Rather than spending precious time calculating your next cataclysm, we should thrive to redirect that energy on ourselves, identifying areas of improvement and channeling that energy in fostering our goals and dreams while reinventing ourselves and circles. It is truly in doing so, when focus intertwined with opposing forces, at the intersection of winning or losing, that crucial decisions and personal growth are achieved be it in our personal lives, careers and relationships.

2. Offer Empathy to the other person

Realize that identifying the reasons and motives for deceit brings understanding, and with understanding comes empathy. Exercising empathy makes the plots of vengeance become a boondoggle and positions you as a leader.

Like Dante said in his last chapters, how did I escape? With difficulty, I plan this moment? With pleasure, how utterly badass! Remember that just as badass as revenge may seem, it is equally badass to offer empathy and understanding. The unexpected irony throws your adversary off but also presents you as one with great emotional intelligence. Once you identify the reasons for your adversary’s actions, empathy becomes your weapon and their incubus. Empathy does not dehumanize you, it actually humanizes you and we all can relate to that.

3. Learn from the situation and Move on

However, it is equally as important and crucial to realize that understanding and empathy are not an invitation to your adversary within your circle again. Learning to make hard decisions unapologetically with people is strength in and of itself. Moving on from the setback is even better. So when a reason for revenge comes up? I commend you ask what revenge? The answer: no revenge at all. Learn the lesson, move on, and thrive! When we embody this concept, our lives are transformed, and we transcend into better individuals. We become equipped with a vital skill to navigate the nuances of our life, in our careers, across cultures and inter-personal relationships. It makes us become better versions of ourselves and free us to focus our energies on our dreams. As Dante said, “Hatred is blind; rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”