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3. Holding On To Grudges

holding grudges

All of us have been hurt by either the words or actions of others. Perhaps your best friend criticized your parenting skills in front of your kids, or your current boss is making your life at work unbearable. These wounds can leave lasting feelings of bitterness, anger and even vengeance in your heart. But the good news is that you can choose to embrace forgiveness and move on with your life irrespective of whether the person who wronged you asks for forgiveness or not.

However, this is not always easy for everyone. Unhappy people tend to hold on to grudges because they find it difficult to forgive others. If you’re one of them, harboring ill feelings against someone else may make sense to you considering how much they’ve hurt you. But is it worth jeopardizing your happiness?

Being unforgiving and resentful is like feeding yourself poison, but hoping that some other person will die. You’ll end up hurting yourself and destroying your own life more than whoever you’re trying to get back at.

Here are some of the things that will happen to you when you don’t forgive others their mistakes:

a) You’ll become stressed and depressed – When you hold on to grudges, you’re granting the person who hurt you a constant presence in your life. Constantly keeping them alive in your thoughts means reliving those painful moments that you’d rather forget. The more you think about them, the more you’ll be filled with anger and desire for revenge. Such bitterness can increase your stress levels and heart rate, leaving you vulnerable to various health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

b) You’ll bring that bitterness and anger into every new relationship that you get into. And as you may already know, nothing good can come out of a relationship where there’s no forgiveness.

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c) You’ll feel like life lacks purpose or meaning – When you’re so wrapped up in the bad things that others have done to you, you won’t be able to enjoy the present moment and all the beautiful things life has to offer. And of course, when you’re always angry, very few people will want to be around you. Hence you might find yourself losing most of your friends and even some family members.

On the other hand, when you choose to let go of all the feelings of resentment and thoughts of revenge, you’re making way for freedom, peace, and happiness. Note that the act that offended or hurt you may always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can help lessen its grip on you, allowing you to focus on other positive areas of your life. It can also lead to feelings of empathy, compassion, and understanding for the person who hurt you.

Here are some of the benefits of forgiveness. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to let go of whatever grudge you’re holding on to right now:

  • Greater psychological and spiritual well being
  • Stronger and healthier relationships
  • Better sleep
  • Less stress, anxiety, and hostility
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Greater work productivity

Overall, forgiveness has been linked to several positive outcomes like peace, happiness, and general well being, so learn to let go of any desire to hold onto old grudges. When you do, I guarantee you that you’ll be much healthier and happier.

Next: Lesson 4 – Engage In Negative Self-Talk »

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2 Comments

  • Unfortunately … without realizing, some people appear to derive some satisfaction from complaining. We all know… that person that always talks about the abuses in life they continue to suffer and you just can’t move them from that focus even if you take different approaches like empathy, silent listening (sounding board), or even just trying to joke to make things lighter. They ‘love’ and seem happy complaining about something, anything. It’s a habit that’s ingrained and second nature. Personally when I catch myself complaining I try not to make it worse by beating myself up for worsening my mood by my own frustrated complaints. I’m not perfect and I try to move on by tuning out what’s bugged me. Reading, meditating, listening to music and even changing directions, if in traffic, helps. After all, situations will always change. When in a better place I’m am grateful, even for my complaining friends and family as they provide the contrast that I learn from about myself. Imho.

  • Primarily, I think that it’s because they’ve created from all those experiences, an identity of themselves as who they see themselves to be. They are terrified of loosing this identity because after all, who will they be? It’s like a program that has been written in their subconscious mind from all their collective negative experiences. For some people it takes ongoing and consistent re-conditioning of the mind, but Interestingly enough, for many others it takes a traumatic experience that breaks the programming, it shatters the old paradigm, making room for a new one.

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