The law of karma is unrelenting, even for those who do not believe it exists, do not understand it, and misunderstand it.
An unfortunately common question these days goes, ‘Still feeling traumatised, how do I get over having been bullied, in real life and online (e.g. via anti-social media)?’ Well, if you wish to be repeatedly bullied, just continue reliving the past endlessly… Of course not! This is pointless self-torture, while others’ lives go on normally.
Just learn the lessons to be learnt, such as not being too trusting, while bracing yourself for how some might be cruel, and move on. There is no need to punish yourself all over again. Why create a personal ‘uninterrupted hell’ (无间地狱) in your mind? Learn to defend yourself well and right wrongs safely, whenever possible and practical. Other times, it is more sensible to just learn and let go.
You did not have any actual defeat. The fact that you did not go down to the bullies’ shameless level by bullying back was already your victory. As Marcus Aurelius wrote, ‘The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.’ Of course, such ‘revenge’ is not with any hatred or vengeance. If you become bitter like the bully, you might become just as despicable. Nothing should move us from our refuge in the moral precepts.
It should be remembered that bullies are actually very unhappy people, with their unhappiness spilling over to affect others. As many victimisers were once victimised, they might have been bullied before too. Even if some seemed gleeful while bullying, this is still with that depressing hidden within. That said, one must have created karmic causes to be bullied, perhaps by bullying others in past lives too. Why perpetuate this cycle of bullying and suffering with retaliation then?
Bullies will naturally face karmic repercussions for their bullying, which will lead to more suffering. Thus already so pitiful, why be as pitiful as them by retaliating? As another saying goes, ‘The best revenge is to live well.’ Again without animosity, the best ‘get back’ response is to become even better than the bullies; never bitter.
Non-sentient and thus impartial, the law of karma does not simply ‘forgive’ those who do not make amends in time.