“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.”― Criss Jami, Salomé: In Every Inch In Every Mile
We have all been hurt by someone we used to love, or perhaps still do. Maybe a friend said something that affected us deeply, or a parent failed to recognize our efforts. Consequently, grudges seep into our bodies and take root quickly. With time, their firm hold on us becomes so intense that living with them seems easier than getting rid of them. However, would you ever nourish the weeds that harm the plants? I think not! Then why do you want to let the detrimental grudges grow when they only cage you in the long run and harbor nothing but negative thoughts and a sour mood all the time? Sometimes, forgiving a person may seem impossible, especially when the hurt they have inflicted is beyond measure. It may have been a day or a decade since the incident took place. However, what if I tell you that it’s never too late to let go?
How To Let Go Of Grudges
Letting go of grudges gives you peace. It helps you breathe easier. It makes you a more mature person. Here are some questions that will help you draw a conclusion about how serious the issue is and how long you should hold a grudge, or not. But, wouldn’t it be simpler to keep resenting the person who didn’t think twice before hurting you? It will, perhaps. However, is the more convenient path the right one? Why should you suffer for something someone else did? Holding a grudge to make the other person feel bad is like injuring yourself and expecting them to bleed. So, what can you do to let the grudges go and live a healthier life? It won’t happen overnight, but these practices might give you a headstart.
1. Identify The Feeling
The first step of letting go is to identify the source of the pain. What is causing you to hold on to that grudge? Talk about it with someone you trust, or pen it down in your journal. Revisiting the incident can bring up negative emotions. Tears are our body’s way of letting go of stress, so do not hesitate to shed them. At the end of the process, you shall feel liberated, and that’s what matters the most. Whether you find a distraction through some kind of activity or simply cry your heart out, you can calm down after that and think with a clear mind if it is really worth keeping a grudge. It will feel like a burden lifted off your shoulders if you let go of it and feel much lighter.
2. Break Up With The Grudge
Sometimes, the issue is too grave to be easily forgiven. At times like these, even if you want to let go of the negativity it still hurts you enough to forget easily. So take the following measures in order to shut out that person from your life forever without having lingering feelings of hatred. Whether it was an ex-friend, an ex-partner, or a toxic person, you must have distanced yourself from them after they hurt you. So why not let go of the lingering pain? Creating as much distance as possible between you and the other person is necessary. In addition, you must get rid of anything associated with them. Give away any present that they gave you, donate the clothes you wore when the incident happened. Get rid of everything that brings back those memories.
3. Change Your Perspective
When we are hurting, it is easy to think that the other person who wronged you are the ones at fault. But putting yourself in their shoes will help you understand why they did what they did. Was it your performance that led them to hurt you, or was it their own unresolved trauma? It may seem cliched, but things make a lot more sense if you look at them from a different perspective. It helps you distance yourself from your emotions and relive the incident from a logical point of view. It makes it easier for you to forgive them.
4. Don’t Dwell On It
This might be a bigger problem for people who tend to overthink as they are too sensitive or highly empathetic. If you are a natural people pleaser it becomes very easy for you to blame yourself automatically even if it is someone else’s fault. That happens due to overthinking and creating scenarios in your head that are mostly not true in reality. Instead of letting the incident take over your thoughts, accept what happened and move on. If you keep thinking about it, it will engulf you with its clutches, and the feelings of resentment will keep growing. In case the topic comes up in any discussion, let them know you are uncomfortable and change the subject. It may seem like a lot of effort when you try to work on it consciously. In such cases, do not hesitate to seek help from a mental health practitioner.
5. Stop With The Slander
We understand how hurt and upset you must be and that you would rather keep complaining about what happened instead of bottling it up inside. However, if you keep saying negative things about your source of resentment, it will only grow. The more you keep saying it, not only does it strengthen your hatred and cause a bad reputation to the other person. It all ends in bad taste. You need not stop talking about the person altogether and refrain from retelling the painful incident. You don’t need to praise them, but avoiding negative language will help you open the door to forgiveness.
6. Choose To Forgive
Sounds crazy, right? How can we ever forgive someone who didn’t even apologize? But choosing to forgive them will set you free. By feeding the grudge, you are surrounding yourself with negativity. If not forgiving them does not affect them in any way, then what good is it doing? In the end, it will only bring you more pain by taking you back to the incident. Forgive, and feel the load lift off your chest. Always remember that forgiving them brings you peace and helps you move on.
Letting go of grudges won’t happen overnight. Healing takes time, and you need to work on it. However, realizing that you are doing it for your own self makes it easier than it seems. Start thinking positively and have a more open perspective towards your life. If you hold onto something for too long, it can take a toll on your mental condition. Take all the time you need, shed as many tears as necessary, and once you finally let go of the grudges, you shall be a more mature person.