Grudges & Notions
What grudges are you holding right now? How would your life change if you let just one go? We spend a lifetime interacting with people in various situations. When someone does something that hurts us, we often hold a grudge. We do it with individuals, groups, organizations and companies. And we can hold grudges for years, decades and sometimes until we die.
There must be something in holding a grudge that feels powerful to us, makes us feel in control or makes us feel as though we are punishing someone who hurt us giving them what they deserve. But, holding grudges is nothing more than passive-aggressive behavior. And the little bit of payoff we think we get is hardly enough to offset the negative consequences of grudges which include adverse health issues and loss of love. The potential health problems stem from the anger, pessimism and unhappiness that cause an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure, just to name a few. Is it really worth it? Not in the least. It’s time to expose grudges for what they really are .¨ destructive, unhealthy and unnecessary.
A Grudge is Always a Loss
When we hold a grudge, we lose precious time stewing over it instead of enjoying life, building memories and feeling more love. Through the ensuing anger that comes with grudges, we become bitter. Our outlook on life also becomes bitter each time we remember that person or the situation that surrounded the grudge. That easily spills into other parts of our life because as we regurgitate the gory details of the grudge over and over, we unknowingly practice the “art” of negativity.
When we practice this kind of thinking, we get dragged down and we begin losing our enthusiasm for life. It is a pattern of madness at the very least. The truth is we deserve better.
Grudges are often birthed out of preconceived notions about how you should be treated, how someone should act or how a situation should look. That is a lot of “should’s”.
Anytime we incorporate some form of should into our life, we are automatically judging someone or something and expressing a very narrow point of view about life, mainly ours. However, there are as many points of view about the same thing as there are people on the planet. Which one is right or wrong? None of them.
Preconceived notions come from our early training from parents, caregivers, relatives and society .¨ and that is the short list. We are told how to see the world and what to expect from it. Some of these are rigid and unreasonable. At the very least, they are certainly myopic in nature. But, this isn’t a true perspective of the world since there can’t possibly be only one view of people, places and situations. Additionally, your perspective is not the only one that exists nor is it the model through which all other people must live. Once we establish this, we can stop forcing our point of view on all of life and adopt a more realistic understanding of the world .¨ one that allows us to build relationships and engender peace.
7 Steps to Fewer Grudges and More Love
1. Acknowledge the grudge. Be willing to say that you are holding a grudge. Awareness is a helpful first step to letting go of a grudge and living a happier life. Acknowledge that there is a grudge and then be open to working through it toward a resolution you can live with.
2. Determine the source. What happened that created the grudge? Of course, it was your thinking that ultimately created the grudge, but what was the specific event that happened that led you to decide to hold the grudge in the first place? Finding the source of the grudge can help uncover something in us that needs attention and a perhaps a change. Using this information to assist us, we can resolve current grudges and prevent future outbreaks.
Know this: there is no solid reason to ever hold a grudge, so the only way we are afflicted by these is when we choose to invoke them.
3. Communicate. At some point, it may become important to talk with the other person about the situation that made you choose to hold a grudge. There are so many times that misperceptions are the main cause of grudges that openly communicating with the other person, without any judgments or preconceived notions, can release built-up tension and even clear up the issue.
4. Walk in the other person’s shoes. We are trained to see life from our point of view most of the time rather than someone else’s. We forget that everyone on the planet has, like us, suffered from many difficult experiences. Who do you know who has not experienced feelings of inadequacy, some physical or emotional pain, ridicule by others, death of a loved one, fears that paralyze some part of their life and loss of love? We all have, but we forget this when we feel hurt. Instead, we want to lash out and punish the person or feel some sort of control and power. We do this to the detriment of love, kindness, understanding and compassion.
Try walking in the other person’s shoes to see the issue from their point of view. You don’t have to agree with it, just see it. This allows the opportunity to resolve the issue and repair the love.
5. Get real about the impact on your life. All grudges create negative impacts on our lives. Notice I said impacts with an s meaning more than one. Pick a grudge and make a list of the negative impacts this single grudge has on your life. Include restlessness, agitation, nervousness,
poor sleep, loss of love, stomach issues, family torn apart, as well as other emotional and physical health issues.
A person who holds a grudge is the one who suffers the most in the situation. It is time to gain a true indication of the real costs of even one grudge in your life. Once you see the damage being done you can vow to change it so that you can be free from this pain. You deserve better than what the grudge is giving you.
6. Acceptance. Not everything can be resolved in a way that brings you and the other person back together. Stuff happens. You may choose not to get involved with this person again, but you don’t have to carry the burden of anger or hatred. Accept the situation as it happened, resolve it, let the grudge dissolve and move on.
7. Learn from the experience. There is nothing that happens to us that does not provide some opportunity to learn something which ultimately provides a positive outcome for us, whether we experience that immediately or at some later point. So, embrace the experience and embrace the lesson. It all serves your soul’s highest purpose.
Love & Happiness
We are not taught this, but love and happiness are what life is all about. Unfortunately, grudges don’t give us either one of these. In order to reduce the load of suffering we all carry, we can make changes to what we have been taught about holding grudges. Doing this lifts a heavy negative weight from our lives allowing us to be free from this pain. The great thing is we can do this today. We don’t have to wait for the other person to acknowledge the issue, apologize to us, accept responsibility or make amends in some fashion. We can make a conscious decision to let it all go .¨ to forgive. Once we forgive we can experience a higher quality of life with less negativity, less bitterness and less unhappiness.
Try it today: Think of someone you hold a grudge against and get to the point where you can forgive and let it all go. It takes some practice and a little hard work since it often feels as though forgiving them makes what they did or said right, but let go of thinking there is a right or wrong here.
Be diligent. Don’t give up and don’t hold onto old patterns of thinking that ruin your life. When you work through the suggestions above, you will feel the stress leaving your heart, body, mind and soul. There isn’t anything more important than reconnecting with love. That alone brings you improved health and more real happiness. You deserve nothing less.