We live in a world where wrongdoings aren’t easily accepted or embraced. When someone hurts us, we retaliate and/or hold a grudge. But have you considered what you’re actually accomplishing by holding a grudge against someone else?
Grudge Be Gone
Grudges are part of being human. But just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they’re healthy or constructive. The longer you hold onto the hurt, the more it consumes your way of thinking and negatively impacts how you interact with those around you. Grudges open the door for bitterness, anger, and hardened emotions.
While it’s much easier said than done, sometimes the best thing a person can do is release the grudge by forgiving the individual who has committed the wrongdoing. And even if there’s still some messiness to deal with, letting go of the grudge provides the victim with a sense of freedom.
“Letting go of grudges doesn’t necessarily mean resolving a particular problem you have with a person,” Wendy Wisner writes for Thrive Global. “Obviously, having constructive conversations with someone who has upset you — and hopefully coming up with a resolution that feels good for both parties involved — is a goal.”
In light of this, here are some tangible ways you can stop holding a grudge and tap into the freedom that comes from letting go.
Acknowledge the Frustration
Releasing a grudge is not the same thing as sweeping a problem under the rug. When you release a grudge, start by acknowledging that you were hurt.
“You were wronged, and that’s real,” Lisa Esposito writes for U.S. News & World Report. “Describing what happened and how it made you feel is a start – whether you write it in a journal or in a letter you might never send to the person at the center of your grudge. Telling these truths can be an incredibly powerful process, when you get them in the imaginary chair and express anger.”
Once the frustration has been acknowledged, you’re free to toss the issue to the side and move on with your life.
Sometimes the best way to avoid a grudge is to be proactive in how you deal with it.
Take the example of a personal injury case where you’re hurt due to someone else’s negligence. Instead of ruminating on an injury and focusing on how irresponsible the other party is, the best course of action is to just hire a lawyer to take care of the details. This allows you to simply focus on healing – physically and mentally.
There are always multiple sides to a problem. Even if it seems pretty black and white, there’s a good chance that the person on the other side of the grudge feels differently. Sometimes it’s helpful to put yourself in their shoes. Ask questions like:
- Is this person dealing with issues that I’m not aware of?
- What was this person’s genuine motivation?
- What are some of this person’s most positive attributes?
These can be difficult questions to answer, but they’ll help reorient your heart towards a place of forgiveness.
Do Something Nice
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
This is known as the Benjamin Franklin Effect, and it’s one of the more interesting theories in modern psychology. It basically means that you’re more apt to like someone after doing something kind for that person. In essence, if you do something kind for the person who wronged you, your grudge will slowly dissipate and you’ll trick your brain into liking that person more. (It also makes it more likely that the other person will respond to you in kindness.)
Make a Change
Sometimes you just need to remove yourself from a situation or environment. If you’re a member of an organization in which people have repeatedly wronged you, discontinuing your membership and joining another group will help diffuse the problem.
If your significant other is the problem, break up. If it’s a coworker, ask your boss to move your workspace to another part of the building. Whatever it takes, make the change!
Learn to Embrace Forgiveness
Forgiveness doesn’t always feel warm and comfortable. It’s typically laced with discomfort and friction. However, it paves the way for a healthier and happier tomorrow.
Learn to forgive more freely and your mindset will change for the better.
Photo by Gokil on Unsplash.
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