We’ve all had it happen. The moment when you run into an ex and they’re looking good, seem happy and make you feel tingly inside. Right then, you question yourself, “Why did I let them go again?” Conversely, we all want our exes to feel the same way about us, especially if they were the ones who called things off.

Last year, my sister-friend got dumped via e-mail. It was a short message that from the guy she’d been dating for 11 months saying he no longer wanted to be with her. He told her he was shipping her things to her place and basically didn’t want to communicate any more. As you can imagine, this was a major blow to my sister-friend’s ego, and she was extremely hurt by it.

Some other sister-friends and I came to the rescue and did our best to cheer her up. The breakup came out of left field, and the manner in which he did it seemed so harsh. My other sister-friends wanted revenge. They started plotting the guy’s demise. Tires slashed; showing out at his job; nasty text messages. Hell certainly has no fury like a woman scorned, especially when she’s got some vindictive friends.

“Y’all are trying to go Two Can Play That Game on him, damn,” I said jokingly, before offering this: “Someone once told me that the best revenge is good living.”  I then added, “The best revenge for an ex is good looking.” I encouraged her not to give him, or the situation, more energy than either deserved. Instead, I recommended she take advantage of the opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. She should put all of that energy into herself. During their relationship, she did what many of us do, and wasn’t working out as much. She traded in the evening workout sessions for romantic dinners and drinks. And, after a few months, physically she wasn’t as tight as she was at the beginning of the relationship. Moreover, her world had been consumed by dating him and she’d let some of her side-business projects go. I knew it would serve her spirit a world of good to reengage in her own life and not wallow in her pain.

My sister-friend decided to take my advice, not slash his tires, and shake it off instead. She got back to her regular work out regimen, jumped back into developing her business and almost immediately started dating again. Dating is like riding a horse. If you fall off, the best thing to do is to brush yourself off, get back up there and ride again.

Fast forward to last week. We were in the Meatpacking District of New York City with her new boyfriend and other friends having drinks outside. And, lo and behold, guess who we see walking down the street? E-mail jerk. As he approached, I could see my sister-friend’s shoulders pull up.

When he got to our table, it was written all over his face. He’d messed up. My sister-friend looked great, felt great and had a hunk on her side.  He, on the other hand, looked like he’d just walked through a car wash and had even put on a few pounds. I could feel the triumph she felt as he tripped over his words, looked her up and down, and then, high-tailed it out of there.

We’ve all been dumped before – each and every one of us. It’s not a great feeling, and in the moment, you do want revenge. However, instead of doing anything heinous, the best thing to do is be the one that got away.

Wishing you love and ceaseless joy! Follow @NathanHWilliams on Twitter.

Nathan’s book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.