Ever wonder about the expression “to bear a grudge?” We don’t have grudges the way we we have a dislike for someone, or even a hatred for someone. No, we bear grudges: we carry them as a heavy load or an overwhelming weight.
What is it about grudges that keeps us clinging? Why can’t we just dump them like yesterday’s trash?
What does it take to release this burden we impose on ourselves? Here are some steps to freedom:
1. First, take an inventory of all your existing grudges. I know I have several.
One is toward a guy who swindled me out of several thousand dollars. I guess I’m as angry with myself as I am with him because I fell for his pitch. Another is toward someone who promised to keep some information about me confidential, but instead broadcast it to a large number of persons. Again, was I complicit in allowing this to happen?
2. Next, analyze your grudges.
Are they similar in origin and intensity? How much time and effort do you expend thinking about them and obsessing about the person who did you ill?
3. Look within.
Ask yourself, what in the world am I doing to myself? Why am I allowing myself to be stuck in this emotional trap? Grudges that I have held (and maybe still bear) seem to go on and on. Am I so annoyed, or even infuriated with what a person has done to me that I feel compelled to bear a grudge indefinitely?
4. Try on some new glasses.
Is there another way to feel about the person who betrayed me? What if I resolve never to trust that person? Or to cut off any future contact? What if I can actually forgive him?
5. Choose another way.
Finally, ask yourself: Is it possible to weigh the effect of the betrayal versus the damage a grudge is doing to me and consciously decide that bearing the grudge is just not worth it?
I hope so.