If You Do Just One Thing... Let Go of a Grudge

A grudge can stem from an ongoing issue that brewed for years or a single slight that is so stinging you can’t get past it. Whatever the reason, most people know what we’re talking about when we say that it can be hard to let go of anger when you feel when someone has hurt, betrayed, or wronged you in some critical way. Holding a grudge may seem like the best way to protect yourself from a particular kind of hurt, but you’re actually better off letting go.

Why grudges occur

Intimacy expert Allana Pratt believes that most grudges stem not from anger at the other person but anger at ourselves. “Sure, whatever the other person did hurt our heart or pissed us off, but really we’re mad at ourselves that we didn’t listen to our intuition, didn’t heed the red flags, didn’t speak our truth, or that we stayed in the relationship too long,” Pratt says.

Though some people tend to be naturally more forgiving, grudge holders tend to be more critical of both themselves and others. Grudges between family members are especially common due to a shared history but different vantage points and heightened emotional connection. “Family members are the hardest to forgive and the easiest to hold grudges against,” Pratt says.

Why grudges are bad for us

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” is a Buddhist quote that perfectly illustrates why grudges are bad for the grudge holder. “It’s a low-vibrational victim standpoint, playing the martyr as if you had nothing to do with the situation and it’s all [someone else’s] fault. Unwillingness to take responsibility for your choices or your life makes you the victim,” Pratt says.

And holding onto grudges can make us ill physically and emotionally. According to Mayo Clinic experts, grudges can cause people to become depressed, anxious, and bitter. They lower immunity, self-esteem, and the ability to connect with others.

How to let go of a grudge

To let go of a grudge, you need to forgive the other person, but more importantly, you also need to forgive yourself. Pratt explains, “To let go of a grudge does not require healing the relationship with the other person. It requires healing the relationship with yourself. It requires forgiving yourself for not listening to your intuition, for not listening to red flags, for going against your truth.”

In an article in the New York Times earlier this year, author Sophie Hannah gave several reasons she thought people could benefit from their grudges. Hannah suggests redefining a grudge from being a “negative feeling” to “a story that one can learn from.” Adds Pratt, “Do your inner work to garner the lesson from the experience and move into a more heightened place of discerning awareness.

“Letting go of a grudge is like taking off a backpack filled with boulders,” she says. “It will probably make you look 10 pounds thinner, 10 years younger, 10 times sexier, and 10 times happier — freer and vibrantly alive!”

Original article by Randi Mazzella

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