Escape The Gridlock Of Holding A Grudge
Whether you choose to forgive or not, the key is to redirect the negative energy towards something more positive. Here’s how to begin the new year with a lighter heart
When you hold a grudge, it means that you’ve lost something, like a relationship, trust, or reputation, and grieving, it can take time to work through that pain. Maybe you’re still angry about the remark your mother-in-law made years ago, or perhaps you’re still shocked by a colleague’s backstabbing grab for a job. At some point in time, we’ve all felt hurt or mistreated by friends, family, or co-workers. If these emotions are allowed to be left festering for years, they turn into grudges.
Think of a grudge like a plan on an air-traffic controller’s screen: it’s circling endlessly and taking up precious air space. Nursing a grudge can make you feel morally superior, but holding on to it can harm your health.
Learning to forgive doesn’t mean hurts will bounce off you like water off a hot pan, but when you forgive, you suffer less and heal quicker. What’s more, forgiving in a healthy way is a skill anyone can learn. Try these for a start:
STAMP OUT STRESS SOONER
If you catch resentment early, there’s a lower chance of it hardening into a grudge. Ground yourself by taking deep breaths and think of a kind act someone else did to you. This breathing and visualisation technique refocuses your attention elsewhere and stops an oncoming physical reaction to being hurt.
FIND THE COURAGE TO TALK
Are you still smarting from a remark by an unsympathetic relative when you were retrenched a year ago? Well now that you’ve taken up a new role or moved on professionally, why not discuss it with her? Be frank about how her comment made you feel and defuse what could otherwise develop into a lifelong grudge.
LOWER YOUR ANGER
Most of the time, people don’t mean to hurt us. Perhaps they didn’t know how to do it differently at the time, or maybe, they were too self-absorbed by their own circumstances to realise what they were doing. Either way, this doesn’t trivialise your experience, but it’s less painful to view why they did what they did from another perspective because you’ll realise that their actions were not meant to be a personal attack on you.