A grudge requires a vast amount of energy to keep it going. It demands that we play events over and over in the mind, keeping the fire burning and the conflict alive. To bare a grudge means to carry anger from the past in to the present, restricting the space for love, happiness, friendship and all the other things that are important to us in life…and why would we ever want to do that?
~ Andy Puddicombe, Headspace
Ever run into someone who just can’t let something go? They harp on and onabout the harm that was done to them. They replay the hurt and the anger to anyone who will listen. They go out of their way to avoid the person who “done ‘em wrong”. And they resent anything good that happens to the other person.
I’m sure you know someone like this.
If we step back and objectively look at that person holding a grudge, what do we see? Someone who views the world as a place where people are out to get them. Where they constantly have to watch their back, just in case. A tit-for-tat environment. A very angry place.
What we also see is an enormous amount of time and energy focused on what happened (or thought happened) and how it affected someone. Imagine how much of a person’s vitality is wasted on looking backwards.
Reliving past events and the animosity associated with them keeps the fire stoked and the bitterness alive. It keeps us on hyper-alert for possible future harm. Our vigilance and resentment feed on one another. Round and round we go. And to what end? It’s called the past because it’s over and there’s nothing we can do to change thoseevents.
Or can we?
OK, so the events can’t be changed but our reaction to them can be. Our resentment is something within our control. We’re letting those we begrudge take up valuable space in our head! Space we could be using for so many other things, like taking time for ourselves, expanding the happiness in our lives or just being.
Are you ready to let go, even a little?
It’s important to acknowledge the feelings engendered by the event that caused your grudge. The trick is not staying stuck with those feelings…and recognizing the benefits of letting go of them.
So, if you are holding a grudge, name the strong emotions you’re feeling and how they’re serving you. (There must be a benefit if you are still feeling the resentment.) Recognize the truth in the grudge as well as the lie. Notice how fear plays a part. And acknowledge the personal cost to continue feeling these strong emotions.
What would be different if you let these feelings go?
Your Call to Action
Where are you holding a grudge in your life? How does this resentment affect you (health, behavior, energy, etc.)? Now, take a piece of paper and write out all of the strong emotions associated with your grudge. Really let it rip. Time to let go: find a place where you can safely burn the paper; but before you do, say the words necessary to indicate that you are moving on. You are finished with this event and all of the feelings associated with it. Then release your resentment to the Four Winds.