It’s natural to feel long-term feelings of anger when we’re mistreated. We want to get over them, of course, but is it that easy?

When we’re angry, we take revenge by playing pranks, being rude to their requests, or spreading awful rumors behind their backs. Reacting to anger negatively makes us feel superior, but doing so causes the problem to get worse. Lindie Liang of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada suggests using “symbolic retaliation” to help overcome our bitterness. One example is to rant via email to the person without sending it. But remember that this is merely a means to express your anger and not a way to excuse an individual’s actions. Director Karina Schumann of the Conflict Resolution Lab at the University of Pittsburgh explains that forgiving the person brings more positive feelings and emotional benefits.

“Forgiveness makes us feel more moral – that we’ve acted in this elevated way – and that restores our sense of humanness,” Schumann added. No amount of anger can replace a heartfelt act of forgiveness.