It's time to cover yet another challenge we all seem to battle: holding on to grudges. Now most grudges are constructed in order to help us cope with being wronged, but why do we tend to hold on to them longer than we'd like to? Before we cross that bridge, it's important to know why we hold on to grudges. Here are a few common reasons:
Protection. Sometimes we have an unconscious belief that holding onto resentment from a former problem will protect you from ever being taken advantage of in the future. But its actually counterproductive and prevents you from learning from experiences.
Revenge. People sometimes feel that if they let go of the anger or resentment too quickly that the other person is getting off too easily. But holding on to a grudge allows someone else's behavior and actions affect your happiness.
Fear. We fear that if we let go of what hurt us, it will only happen again. And if we forgive the person that hurt us they will only do it again.
Need closure. A lot of times it's hard for people to let go of events or situations because there’s no resolution to it. They may feel like they need an apology or answers in order to move on.
Even though most of us would never deliberately wish harm or bad fortune on another person, it’s sometimes difficult to loosen the grip we have on our negative thoughts. Negative energies, even just being in a bad mood, tend to exhibit through ones body language and tone of voice. This just goes to show that holding grudges isn't just toxic for the mind in which it resides in, but to those around you as well. Here's a few tips on how to get let go of grudges.
How to let go of Grudges?
Acknowledge what took place. Acknowledge your hurt feelings and the situation itself. Bringing the issues to light is very important if you want to truly let the situation go. Trying to “brush it under the rug” will only hurt you and prevent you from processing your emotions.
Step into his or her shoes. Looking at the situation from the other persons point of view may help you understand. Its important to view the situation from their perspective to see what their intentions were and try understand where they are coming from. Sometimes people who have grown up in a lot of pain and anger will exhibit those characteristics and it has nothing to do with you or your friendship.
Choose to commit to forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t really have to do with the other person as much as it has to do with you. Forgiving the other person means your just letting the past be the past and not carrying the ill feelings with you. It does not mean that you will allow what happened to repeat itself it just means you are willing to let it go for yourself. During this process say it aloud, either to yourself or to whoever involved because verbalizing it makes it an action and will make it “real” in your brain.
Move on. Once you have forgave the incident, don't dwell on it. Don't go back and think of what-if situations. Just allow the situation to be what it is and move forward. You can't change a situation by living in the past, focus your energy on building your future.
What would it be like to live in a world where we wished well upon everyone, even those who have done wrong to us? While some see it as perhaps science fiction, others see it as a movement that begins, and perpetuates, with each and every one of us. I, personally, am inclined to firmly believe in the latter, as a world filled with love and compassion seems like a much more appealing place to live than one ran by vengeance and greed. So let go of the vengeful malicious intent, abandon the negative thoughts and adopt a much healthier lifestyle and mindset.
Have faith. Stay focused. Remember to breath.
Emotional Mojo Talk Show RECAP:
Benefits of Letting Go of a Grudge
Stronger emotional wellbeing
Minimize anxiety and depression
Lower your blood pressure
Lower risk of addictive behaviors
How do we let go of Grudges?
ACKNOWLEDGE what took place. (be honest with yourself)
STEP into HIS or HER shoes. (can you see the other side?)
Choose to COMMIT to forgiveness (for yourself)
MOVE ON. (an intentional action)
One thing to do today: CHOOSE one person and see if you can put yourself in their shoes to embrace empathy.
Authors: Jada Jackson LMHC, Danielle James and Ricardo Mogo (Interns)