Why Bother Letting Go of Grudges?
What is invisible, weighty, and clouds our perception of others. If left alone, this does not go away, and instead, only grows more toxic and infect us with bitterness. Though some of us know how to let these invisible, and weighty things go sooner than others, none of us are exempt from grabbing hold of grudges. Sooner or later, in one or more of our relationships, we will encounter someone who intentionally or unintentionally hurts our feelings. And what we do or don’t do with our hurt, will result in whether or not we will carry a grudge against the person or if we can let things go.
The Heavy Weight of a Grudge
We learn much in our relationships with each other. Though some people claim they would prefer to live isolated lives, we are interdependent creatures. We rely on each other in more ways than we can count. People validate our feelings, offer advice, listen to our fears, share their friendship and companionship. Our personal defeats or sorrows are easier to bear when we bear them with someone who understands and knows us. Our victories are sweeter and felt more deeply when celebrated with someone besides us. But sometimes, even in the best of situations, a relationship goes awry. A misunderstanding, a careless word, or thoughtless action leads to an emotional hurt. Like a stubbed toe, the emotional wounding may start out small and insignificant, but left unexamined, the injury may grow more painful spreading beyond the toe to the foot, and up the whole leg. What started out as something minor becomes something major.
We may not be fully aware of when we hold a grudge, which is all the more reason to take a look at how we are feeling after our encounters with certain people. Sometimes an encounter with a person may leave us feeling as though we’d just been stung instead of encouraged. We might be left with confusion rather than clarity, feel misjudged and misunderstood. We may have wanted to say something, but it went unsaid instead. We may have wanted to defend ourselves, but wondered if we really had to. If we answer yes to any of these questions, we may need to take a step back toward the person with the good intentions of clearing things up. But if we think we can brush the misunderstanding aside because it doesn’t really matter, then we can try that too. If we discover that we are attaching that person’s name to the raise we did not get, the unsuccessful job interview or that our life would be much happier if not for them, then we could safely say we are carrying a grudge against them.
If done well, restoring ourselves to grudge less individuals is not complicated. Approaching the person with words such as, “I know you probably did not mean to hurt me, but when you said ….It made me feel.” Letting go of the grudge begins with being honest with ourselves and with the other person.
Why bother letting go of grudges? Learning to let go of grudges is worth it since it steers us back on course to good relationships.