One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.

~ Jane Austen (1775 - 1817), Emma ~

Revenge Is Sweet And Sour

April 10th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 50 secs

Sharing sweet moments makes life all the better.

Sharing sweet moments makes life all the better.

Funny what people associate with being sweet. Some themes are sickeningly syrupy, whilst others are a ruse to be deceptively stony.

Take: revenge. It might cheer your desire for control and personal justice. But it is bound to leave a sour taste in your mouth eventually.

Finding pleasure in someone else’s misery can never truly be sweet whichever way it gratifies. For Schadenfreude (as the Germans call it) leaves us tainted with self-righteousness, arrogance, and a cool twist of cruelty to boot.

So it’s not surprising people talk about revenge being a dish best served cold. It finds its drive in callous cold-bloodedness, which incidentally, is about as far away from being sweet as you can get.

Still, we all have our moments when we feel a tingle of glee to see the “baddie” or a bully get their comeuppance. Whether it’s out of spite or a sense of fair play is hard to say. We each are the best judges of that.

By contrast, the really sweet things that people do are immediately clear.

Like the kindness of a child to another person, pet, or thing. Or, the romantic gesture of a admirer head over heels in love. Such expressions of sweet behavior are unambiguous because they touch us with a widespread feeling of warmth and have a certain tenderness to them.

Compare that to the muddy waters of retaliation, with its need to assert superiority and dominance. Delight in triumphing over an enemy is never so virtuous or clear because the means are a world away from compassion (which is essentially what sweet action is about).

Of course, what some think is “sweet” and “cute” can be sickeningly saccharin to others. Particularly, if it’s overly sentimental or “milked” for effect. So many TV shows, films, and stories have raked over the cute factor now that we are pretty jaded by fake sweetness, and that’s just as well.

Because a sweet-smelling disposition based on care for others and a genuine sincerity has more substance than that. Some may mock kindness and a gentle spirit as if it were something soppy and gushy. But they would be missing its benefits and, potentially, its strength.

Though some naturally demonstrate a sweet nature, for the rest of us it takes resolve to be agreeable, openhearted, and gracious. If it’s only skin deep, people will see it for what it isn’t. But if it’s based on an attitude of kindness, the spirit of our intentions will inevitably shine through.

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