The Beast of Burden- How Not to Hold Grudges

a special feature from Kay & Leslie, Founders

A family feud. A cold war with a neighbor. A workplace injustice. It might feel right to hold on to your sense of being wronged—but you may end up with more than your share of the suffering. Here’s how to move forward:*

It’s perfectly natural to bear grudges of all sizes—against a relative who showed favoritism, against a partner who cheated on you, and worse. And it’s hard for most of us to let go. When we’ve been wronged, it feels validating to think of ourselves as the blameless, oppressed victim. However, playing that role makes it hard to move on, because it makes you powerless—you can’t have it both ways.  Most importantly, we all make mistakes, and we all fall short at times. Learn to be more understanding and you will find often a new path to just let things go.

Consider what’s good for you. 
In holding a grudge, there’s a sense of strength and righteousness in the short term, You’re saying, “You can’t do this to me.” The quest for justice seems right. But it does not cure the resentment. It’s not about whether the offender deserves forgiveness. You deserve it, because you are the one who is hurt. You deserve to live a life free of that gnawing and discontent.

See the other person through new eyes. 
It may feel like the offender’s actions were meant to hurt you—and sometimes that’s true. We encourage everyone to view these incidents from a different perspective. Don’t define the person by the words or action that hurt you. That is not all the person is. Try to see them more broadly, in terms of their humanity and when they might have done good.

Don’t wait for someone to “earn” your forgiveness. 
People don’t deserve forgiveness. They don’t earn it. We simply give it.
Our advice: Do it sooner rather than later. A lot of people hold grudges because they are waiting for an apology, they think, “I’ll forgive them, but they haven’t asked me yet.” That’s not the way the world works. Most people won’t apologize in a way that is satisfying; in our culture we aren’t really taught how to do it. And maybe, just maybe, we can take a moment to vocalize just that- a simple ‘sorry’.  So, bottom line: f we want to be happy and heal ourselves when we’ve been hurt, we must forgive whether we are asked for forgiveness or not.

Good advice here that carries into all relationships; do not live your life with a chip on your shoulder just as the adage goes.  Truly, isn’t life too short?


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