I have heard that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies and I believe this is true. Holding a grudge and continuing to poke insults and jabs at the person you feel wronged you is indeed poisonous, toxic behavior and the people supporting your grudge are cheering you on while you commit mental suicide.
What does holding a grudge mean? A grudge against someone is holding onto resentment. You continue to stoke those fires of anger and hatred inside your heart and it spills over into your outside life eventually. Holding tight to bitter feelings will make you an ugly and abysmal person over a period of time.
Whether you poke fun and make jokes about your grudge or you outright spew venom, you are still guilty of holding a grudge.
Why keep the hate-flame lit? What has you in this eternal holding pattern where you stay motivated to stoke the bad memories you have and to constantly remind everyone around you how victimized you feel?
This petty and pathetic posture you take pretending to be a victim hurts one person…YOU.
Your friends see it, but because they care for you on some level they put up with the occasional wave of vindictive hurled nasties and the imperious smugness that you are such a better person than this other human who jilted you, stole from you or simply walked away from you.
Do you want to know why I sound like such an expert on the topic? I sound like I know the feeling because I do know it. I met someone who could have sold out arenas on how to hold a grudge. He was an expert and I was sitting squarely in the bulls-eye of his next target practice. This experience made me do years of self-reflection. It made me take a look deep inside my own soul and to question my reality.
My old friend Brian used to be this fun-loving and happy guy, but age had not been kind to him and now all he did was expound on the numerous grudges he had for his old friends, his family and anyone who did not do exactly as he expected, and his expectations were all about him and only him. If you gave Brian an inch he would always WANT MORE. This kind of selfishness kept him in full supply of grudge-holding situations because rarely was it that anyone complied like he wished.
His life was one of solitude lived out largely online in his pajamas everyday. Brian had no real life friends to commune with anymore. No one knew who he really was because he lied about everything from his work history (he was always some big shot doing an important job) to something as mundane as how he spent his days (there was always some big doings going on somewhere) to the way he actually looked now (none of the photos he posted online were current. They were all from when he was in his 20’s).
If you were a stranger the only stories you were going to hear from him were the fake ones, but if you knew him, had grown up with him, you were going to hear about all the people from his past he hated now and the dastardly deeds they had put upon him. I would remind him that all of his stories were taking place from a past that was decades old. Why was he still hanging onto all of these painful memories?
If you are still tempted to remind everyone about your shitty relationship with someone a year after they walked away and stopped responding to you, then you are holding a grudge and trust me, no one cares about it but you.
How does a person let go of the past perceived transgressions and move on?
- Most of the time the person stuck on that part of their past stays stuck because they do not feel like they are in control of their own life.
This is an imagined state of mind. It’s a fact that the only person you can control is yourself. You are in charge of how you react and project on a daily basis. Why would you spend so much time and energy thinking about someone who obviously doesn’t care about you?
- Some folks are afraid to let go of their long-standing grudges because being a victim is now how they identify themselves. They wear their victimhood like a badge of courage and honor. If they are able to stand on their soapbox and continue to denounce the person that hurt them then they have a purpose in life.
This too is an imagined state of mind. After the first week the crowds surrounding your megaphone speeches start to dwindle and disperse. They have lives to live and places to be, preferably happier places than standing there listening to you go on about being a victim. Haven’t you noticed?
Wouldn’t you rather draw people close to you by finding an identity that’s a little less cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms? My grandmother always used to tell me, “Katy, if you can’t say something nice then say nothing at all.” If you are always tempted to bring up your grudge then consider not bringing it up at all. Eventually this will get easier until one day you totally forget you had a grudge.
- Sometimes the intensity we have indulged in holding a grudge has subtracted so much of the person you used to be that you probably wonder if you can ever be happy again.
I am here to give you hope that in teaching yourself a few truths you can turn back time to a happier place and start from there. You have to start by paying attention to the most important person in your life and that person is you.
- Acknowledge to yourself that you’re hurt. Let go of the imperious self righteousness of being a victim and simply feel the hurt and despair of being left behind. Then let it go. You never have to be hurt like that again, but if you are you’ll know how to let it go.
- Change your clothes. It’s that easy! When you get up in the morning pick an outfit, wash your face and start your day. Force yourself by planning breakfast with a friend to hold you accountable.
- Have a decent bedtime. Stop staying up in the middle of the night obsessing over your grudge. Go to bed at 10PM and get up early with coffee and live life among the actual living population.
- Heal your hurt by learning to love yourself again with self-care. The list here is endless!
- Go to the gym.
- Buy yourself a new outfit or a painting you’ve been admiring.
- Treat yourself to a massage or a facial.
- Have your nails done or take a course in auto mechanics.
- If you used to have a hobby try revisiting it to see if this still stokes your flames.
- Make a seasonal reading list and try to accomplish reading every book listed by a certain date.
The person that holds the longest grudge will never win a prize or a trophy of any kind. What they will do is slowly kill themselves from the inside out. It’s a sad way to go.
If you are holding a grudge consider trying some of my suggestions.
However if you are the object of someone’s grudge instead of feeling attacked (which the Grudge-holder is hoping for) or angry (also a fantasy for the Grudge-holder) try feeling a little empathy for them. This is a lonely, angry and bitter person who will need to take baby steps in order to sort out why they feel so badly about themselves. They might eventually move on or they might not. Feel relieved you’re not the one sorting it all out and wish them well.
Until next time this is Madeline Laughs and I’m moving and shaking these days and getting ready to publish my second book!