Holding a grudge against someone is something we’ve all experienced sometime or the other! I need not tell you more on how it feels when you do that because, truth is, you already know how trying and exhausting it is. Sometimes, we tend to think time heals everything and it is enough to let things be. But, in practice, we tend to hold on to our feelings and our grudges especially when we feel wronged in some way and forgiveness feels like the hardest thing to do at that moment.
Over time, we grudge-holders believe it is our prerogative to amplify the hurt and intensify the negative emotions. In our quest to teach a lesson to the one who has wronged us, we end up hurting ourselves badly.
So why is holding a grudge so easy and letting go so hard?
I can say this, speaking from experience, that all grudge holders feel that the grudges are completely justified. Having been there, I know how difficult it is to forgive, and it stems from the belief that not everyone deserves our forgiveness. Which may not seem wrong at all. In fact, I’ve also come to believe that grudges sometimes help to shield us against getting hurt all over again, and of course, that feeling of being, oh so right about things. Who can forget that feeling? When I look back, I’ve no qualms to admit today that for a long time, grudges gives me a sense of purpose to go on hating those especially who hurt me or my family. But did it punish the wrong-doer? No, it didn’t. I wouldn’t have thought this ten years back, but today, I can say, no matter how strongly we believe it does, it does absolutely nothing to them.
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” ― Anne Lamot
I’ve spent years holding my hurt within me, weighed down by the baggage from the pain and anger that came over the years. I hated them so much, they came to haunt me in my dreams too. Then, came a time when I found myself so burdened that I began to lose the possibility of ever being free of it again. What I sought for years was a retribution and the realisation from the wrong-doers of what they had none. Sadly, none came my way. And it made me realise nothing was to come either. Not in this lifetime. Eventually, one fine day I came to realise that unless I decided to walk past the hurt, and prepare myself to forgive them, one by one, I’d never feel happy again. Of course, I learnt it the hard way and it took a huge effort on my part. I fought a lot before I finally learnt to let go. The heavy weight was lifted and I was able to breathe again.
But, I agree, forgiving is not easy. It is a very personal thing. And, I agree not everyone can let go and forgive. But, to me, that sense of relief from letting go has brought a lot of peace and calm that I never had earlier in my life. I feel I’ve grown as a person since then and I feel good inside because I no longer hate those people anymore.
“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.”
― Criss Jami
What are your thoughts on this? Do you belong to those who hold grudges or do you tend to forgive and move on? What do you think of the quote? Have you ever had a situation where you fought a hard battle while choosing between holding a grudge and forgiving someone?
(Linking this with #mondaymusings by Corinne of EverydayGyaan
and #mg hosted by Mackenzie Glanville.)
This is relatable!
I think we hold grudges because sometimes we never expect the worst
and sometimes we don’t get a chance to express our pain and feelings.
Instead we hold it in.
I remember when I got my heart broken three years ago I held on a grudge for months.
Forgiving is the hardest thing to do as a Christian.
Forgiving takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight.
Just don’t make the same mistake twice, re-evaulate yourself and move on
Absolutely, forgiving is hard and I guess I too struggled to forgive too when I was younger. Today, I find it easy to forgive and move on because I can see that very few can see things the way we do and that I suffer more when I carry the grudge within me than when I move on and forgive the person.
Forgiveness is medicine to lessen the pain in our hearts when times get hard.
I appreciate you responding back to me
I, like you, have come to the same realization. More often than not, grudges only affect the grudge-holder. And there is a difference between being cautious against getting hurt again, and holding a grudge, the former can possibly shield you from repeating past mistakes, but the latter is a futile exercise.
Loved the quote by Anne Lamot!
It’s only recently I have learnt to forgive people and it’s not easy. I love that quote as I know something similar. Holding grudges and being resentful only hurts us more than the other person.
Absolutely with you, Sanch. The more we delve into negative thoughts, the worse it can get. I wonder how each one of us discovers this truth inspite of our journeys being so different! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
I used to be the forgive but won’t forget kind. But with age and time, a lot of things have stopped impacting me. Also I have never met anyone who is completely forgiving. Human emotions are such that it’s hard to forget a betrayal. It’s hard to forget what it feels like to be taken advantage off. Forgiveness comes with time. It’s never immediate. And when it does, as you said, it feels like a burden has been lifted.
Yes, forgiveness is never easy. But it is the better thing to do. The burden of our grudges would be too hard to bear!
Absolutely, Reema. That’s what I learned too, the hard way, of course since giving in happened only when I realised how futile it was to try and be happy with so much bitterness bottled up within me.
How alike we think, Esha! Just this morning, I posted a quote on forgiveness on Facebook. I too find it tough to forgive, but I also don’t like holding grudges. But, oh, I do!!! Knowing fully well that holding grudges is not going to do any good to others, but will definitely ruin my peace of mind, I keep nursing those few grudges. I keep hoping those people realise their mistake and apologise, or at least mend their ways, but, frankly, that’s not how life works, does it? That happens only in the movies! 😛
My BFF keeps telling me to let it go, to forgive them and try to understand them, empathise with them, but I find it so very difficult. But, there is really nothing else I can do except forgive them. I keep saying to myself that even I may have wronged some people in my life. How I would beg them for forgiveness! So, these days, I am really making efforts at forgiving and letting go of it all..and it’s taking a hell lot of efforts to do that! All I need to do is practice…make every effort to let go and give myself the much needed peace, before it drives me insane!
I hear you, my friend. After having lived life all these years and getting all those grey hairs, I’ve come to realise life is bigger than the sum-total of all our experiences, and therefore, we have to rise above these petty issues because in the greater scheme of life, such acts and such thoughts can only be small. LIfe holds so much more meaning and so many ways of finding fulfillment than seeing people feel sorry because they never will. I know how tough it is to do so, it took me years and yet, I say it is every bit worth it. Forgive and move on is my mantra. I am much happier this way! Expect nothing and accept whatever good comes your way! The bad experiences and people I tend to ignore with a capital ‘I’. Am glad the post spoke to you, Shilpa. We are so similar in our thinking…so glad to share my thoughts with you this way. 🙂
Forgive and move on – making it my mantra too, Esha! We don’t have any other choice, do we?
No, we have chosen to be at peace so we have no choice but I do find people around me full of venom who are not ready to shed their baggage yet. It makes me sad that they still wish to hold on to their hurts and suffer on.
That’s their choice, Esha. I guess you just let them be. <3
I think I lean on the side of being a grudge holder. Earlier I wont let go, making sure the offender knows exactly what they have done. Now I remember what was done to me and tell myself to not go down that road again! I do let go but I dont get comfortable with that person again! I have been a bridge burner all my life 😉
Aww, hugs my friend! I know why you say so. Be who you are, but remember to tell yourself how much importance you wish to give to those negative people in your life. Time is a great healer I think. You know the change in me came with age and experience and I think I wanted to get rid of the toxins within me and the bitterness that I held on for so long that it was actually making me sick inside. My post was meant to share what I went through and it is fine if you feel you’d like to hold on to it a little longer. I sometimes feel I have grown up twenty years over the last ten years of my life and so now find it easy to forgive things earlier couldn’t. Thanks a lot for sharing your honest thoughts about the post, Shalz. That’s what makes you, YOU. 🙂
I have a stepsister who I can’t forgive. I give this a lot of thought from time to time and realize forgiving her will only lead to more hurt and burdens. So by not forgiving her, I feel I’m protecting myself. As long as I don’t spend time obsessing over it, I guess it works for now.
I guess we all find ways to make peace with what bothers us and this is fine too. As long as you don’t suffer from it. I was going through a lot of pain holding onto grudges and bitterness that would even haunt me in my sleep for years. I suffered from psychosomatic disorders too and got depressed as well. It was in the process of finding some way to heal myself that I discovered that releasing that bitterness and the grudges would help. I stumbled upon something that changed the course of my life and I thought of touching upon it in my post as a way to share my experience, just in case it worked for someone else.
What you say makes complete sense. I’m with you.
Holding a grudge is tough for me. It is tough for everyone. But sometimes i just choose to forgive to realise myself of all the tension. Then i don’t really forget. May be ignore them, but forgetting is difficult ..
Yes, forgiving is the first step. Forgetting comes much later. I think It takes a huge amount of strength and compassion to make that happen and age and experience have something to do with that I think. Glad you shared your thoughts on this, Pratikshya. I hope things are settled at the job front for you now and all is good.
There was a time when I would hold tight to my grudges. “They are wrong!” I would think. But over time, I’ve come to realise that holding a grudge only does me harm. I’ve moved to forgiving rather than holding on to a grudge. It can be hard sometimes, and some hurts take longer to forgive than others, but I have always gone towards forgiveness.
Absolutely, Shinjini. I totally agree holding onto a grudge only does us harm. What is even more important is that not everything can be forgiven easily. It takes a huge effort and a lot of strength and compassion to reach that point when we can rise above that and forgive another person. It is tough; very tough. So glad to see you stop by the blog and share your thoughts.
I am slowly learning to let go and forgive..that is making me calm and peaceful.
Glad to know this, Tina. Forgiving is very tough but the effect is therapeutic! Nothing feel better than letting go of the painful and the hurtful.
Oh this is a difficult question, Esha.
There have been occasions when I have been wronged without having done anything to provoke, until very recently too. While I don’t hold a grudge in that sense of wanting something bad to happen to them but I don’t forgive either. Once someone hurts me or my family, they are out of my life for good. I have nothing to do with them. Life is too short to give second chances to such people is what I feel.
I know the feeling, Nabanita. It happens to me too. Forgiveness did not come easily. I had to work hard to bring that on and it was tough but the effect on this has been therapeutic. I don’t say, do not object to wrongdoings and do not speak out. I only say, there are all kind of people. If someone rubs you the wrong way, speak out and make your stand clear and walk away. Don;t carry the burden of those emotions along with you. Purge it off your system and you may find peace. My own experience of not forgiving and not forgetting always came in the way of my inner peace. Again, I would say, do what comes to you easily. Whatever makes you happy is what you should follow.