Thursday, 9 October 2008

Releasing Grudges

Haven’t we all borne grudges from time to time? I know I certainly have. I’ve generally been pretty good about them though - I’ve either approached the person who’s the cause of my grudge and talked things through properly or I’ve simply dropped it. There is, in my opinion, simply no point in carrying grudges with us through life.

Bearing a grudge wastes energy. It turns positive energy into negative energy - instead of spending time thinking about the good that surrounds us we spend it, or at least some of it, thinking about how such and such a person has done us wrong. And let’s be honest, all that spent negative energy does us absolutely no good. The situation doesn’t improve but we can often end up feeling wound up over something that’s happened and no amount of grinding over that particular stone will make it un-happened.

Ok, maybe an initial response where we vent some of our negative emotions over what’s happened can be helpful - we all know that bottling things up isn’t good for us - but there comes a point where we either have to deal with it or let go. If we don’t, then every time we happen to run into the person who we consider the cause of our grudge will just continue to release negative energy, and by ‘run in’ I don’t necessarily mean that we meet them on the street, but every time we hear their name mentioned, see a photo with them in, or come across something that reminds us of them, the latter of which can be anything from switching on the TV only to see their favourite programme playing, hear a song they particular liked, or hear somebody use a phrase they often used themselves.

I have plenty of reasons to bear a grudge towards certain people who’ve been part of my life, but now that I’ve expended the initial negative energy needed in order to release some steam, I try to focus on the good things about them. Everybody, even my abusive ex partner, has good sides and just thinking about all the bad things really doesn’t help me move forward.

There are lessons to be learned from everybody we meet. It isn’t always easy to see the lessons at the time, but once we have things at a distance, if we really start to look, they’re there to be found and experience is what we grow on.

Who knows, maybe that person you’re bearing a grudge towards has actually taught you an important life lesson. If that’s the case, be grateful instead of just hanging on to that grudge.

Sharon J


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Anonymous said...

i do agree with you. however i think its important to understand that "letting go" doesn't necessarily mean making up with the person, or letting them do to you what they originally did all over again. too many people think they are the same, or may even see you protecting yourself by not wanting to be around that person any more, as holding a grudge.

An example: i have an uncle, who was, for a long time, my favorite uncle. I loved him to bits. until a couple of years ago, when he wrote me an extremely unpleasant letter. He had his reasons at the time, and i'm sure he thought they were good reasons, but i felt very very betrayed by him, his actions hit me at a time when i was already struggling mentally and it almost tipped me over the edge (It was Michiel who pulled me back). I recently met him again in person, for the first time since that letter. I wasn't there to meet him, i was there for my grandmother, but i was polite to him for her sake, for mom's sake. We'd been corresponding but he'd never properly said sorry, although i think he feels it. Afterwards Mum cautioned me about bearing a grudge: my answer was that it wasn't about forgiveness, i could forgive him what he'd done, but *forgetting* what he'd done was much harder (on the day, when i looked at him, all i could think of was his words to me echoing in my head. "*this* is what you really think of me!", i would think), and *trusting* him again is.. at the moment, downright impossible. however, i'm glad we met in person again. if we hadn't, most likely the next time we would've met would've been at something like my grandmother's funeral, and that's tough enough without dealing with all that stuff too.

they say life's too short, and it is.

thanks for a thought provoking post.


Sharon J said...

I do agree, Kethry, and I'm by no means saying that we should just carry on, business as usual, with the person concerned. There are a few people who have been part of my life who, while I no longer bear a grudge as such, I wouldn't want to meet. However, if I did, like you, I'd be polite and then just move on. I wouldn't bother making unnecessary conversation though.

I think the important thing is 'to move on' rather than to let them get to you to the point where, after meeting them, you spend days with smoke coming out of your ears. They don't care because they most likely don't even know - it just brings stress into our lives and that's always pretty pointless.

I've recently been very disappointed by a person's behaviour towards me - somebody I thought I was close to. I won't go around upsetting myself over it though (I've already let out the initial burst of steam) but the level of trust I had in her has been eroded dramatically. Sad, but I guess that's life.

Dominic F said...

Sharon I agree with you too, I have been known to carry grudges in the past but I now believe if the person allows you to feel you have a grudge then that person is not worth thinking and stressing about, and at the end of the day I am sure all we want is a peaceful life full of fun and enjoyment (at least I do) and holding grudges just is not the way forward.

Catz said...

Spot on again Sharon! I had to deal with a couple of Aunts (Mums sisters) who believed some awful stuff about us through the lies of someone who just wanted attention. As my Mum had died there was no one to tell our side of the story. You can imagine how that stress affected my health so we withdrew from any contact for a few years. Now for the sake of my Mum I keep in touch and send cards, especially when they are ill. I feel better in myself that I can now do this, and feel like I am also showing some respect for my Mum's memory and now find that the bitterness is no longer eating me up. Mind you, like Kethry says although I can forgive I will never forget!

Sharon J said...

@ Dominic. Peace, fun & enjoyment - that sounds pretty good to me :)

@ Catz. I can understand how you feel. The people I could be bearing grudges against I either ignore or just smile politely and otherwise don't contact. And I so totally agree that forgiving is one thing, but forgetting... well, I'm not even sure that's possible.

neimanmarxist said...

you are so right. i am a champion grudge-bearer, though I am not entirely sure I know what "just letting go" entails. wish i just would!

Jade of the Jungle said...

I didn't think I held grudges until I met up with one girl that I haven't seen in a long time (and didn't like then for various reasons!). It is such an energy-sapper, you're right, but I think some people are unforgivable!

J x

Sharon J said...

@ neimanmarxist. I think 'letting go' probably differs with the individual but loosely defined I'd say it's about accepting that somebody did you an injustice, dropping thoughts of revenge and not going back over (even if just in your thoughts) everything they did every time you meet or are reminded of them. That's what I try to do anyway.

@ Jade. Some people are definitely unforgivable and there are a couple of people I've had in my life who I'll never entirely forgive but I don't allow myself to get upset over what they did anymore. They're just not worth it.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. I've had friends & family hurt me very deeply in the past (one friend told me that she was so sick of seeing my success that she hoped I ended up being barren as it would make her very happy if I never got the thing I really wanted in life - motherhood). I immediately removed myself from the friendship, without resorting to calling her names or ugly statements. To this day, I don't hold a grudge. I didn't get our mutual friends to turn against her,although the same can't be said back, I left that group of friends and have never looked back. How I see it is this: there is obviously something in her that needed to lash out - maybe emotionally she wasn't coping, maybe she was fed up with her life, maybe she so needed to fit in with the couple of friends she had that she had to twist and turn things to play the "victim". I feel sad that she compared our lives because in truth while her life was very different to mine, I don't think her life is any less successful or potentially less joyous. I bear no grudge.

Sharon J said...

Glad to hear it. Well, not that your ex-friend was mean to you but that you don't bear a grudge :)