To err is human; to forgive, divine.
But the main question is: Why do we hold grudges when they are in fact quite painful to maintain, and often seem to work against what we really want?
There is no one answer to the question. But what it usually boils down to is that you feel someone did something wrong to you and didn’t acknowledge it. You feel victimized.
When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance, and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
Why do we need to let grudges go?
Grudges have a huge negative impact on your overall health. There’s more to it than just stress. Grudges can lead to:
- Anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience
- Things could become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present
- You may become depressed or anxious
- You may have a feeling that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs
- You will lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others
- You may not be able to enjoy life because you’re so stuck in the past
How I plan to let go of my Grudges?
I have a feeling that the path to freedom from a grudge is not so much through forgiveness of the “other” (although it can be helpful), but rather through loving our own self.
To bring our own loving presence to the suffering that crystallized into the grudge, the pain that was caused by this “other,” is what ultimately heals the suffering and allows the grudge to melt. If it feels like too much to go directly into the pain of a grudge, we can move toward it with the help of someone we trust or bring a loving presence to our wound, but from a safe place inside.
The idea is not to re-traumatize myself by diving into the original pain but rather to attend to it with the compassion that I didn’t receive, that my grudge is screaming for, and bring it directly into the center of the storm. I think our heart contains both our pain and the elixir for our pain.
So, to let go of a grudge one needs to move the focus off of the one who “wronged” us, off of the story of ones suffering, to the felt experience of what one actually lived.
In re-focusing my attention, I will try to find the soothing kindness and compassion that the grudge itself desired. In addition, I will take responsibility for caring about my own suffering, and for knowing that my suffering matters, which can never be achieved through my grudge, no matter how fiercely I believe in it.
What becomes clear is that we are where we need to be, in our own heart’s company.