Hands up who has ever been hurt? Betrayed? Ridiculed? Cheated? Shunned? Excluded? Wave your hand if you have ever been the victim of vicious rumours or passed over for a promotion at work?
Now take a deep breath, hands up if this left you feeling furious, helpless, powerless, upset, a little bit bitter perhaps? Before you knew it, this injustice, this insult or personal injury grew into a persistent feeling of resentment that started to consume daily thoughts. Otherwise known as a grudge…Gulp.
It’s never easy to admit but here goes, I have certainly held resentments and I’m sure I will feel grudges in my future. The main grudges I’ve held are when people refuse to acknowledge any wrong doing. They make it doubly hard for me to move on swiftly when they shrug their shoulders, contest or deny any animosity towards me. This indifference to the truth makes me grind my teeth, I may need to invest in veneers.
The conversation goes along the lines of,
‘You done me over, that wasn’t very nice.’
‘I have no idea what you are going on about. You’re crazy! Get over yourself.‘
‘Umm… Oh. I see. Bye.’
Result of this exchange? The person refuses point-blank to be accountable for their behaviour. They deny the truth. They refuse to accept my reality. Therefore, my resentment starts to swirl in the pit of my stomach. It feels almost impossible to move on and find the inner peace of forgiveness. However, I simply must – somehow. For my own mental sanity.
An ideal conversation in my head would be,
‘You done me over. That wasn’t very nice.‘
‘Whoops, sorry about that mate! It won’t happen again.’
Result? Relationship is still intact and not shredded into a thousand tiny pieces. Resentment has not been fertilised. It has nowhere to grow. Everyone’s a winner. We both move on quickly.
I had a friend who was an incredibly strong-willed woman who conducted dramatic grievances that transcended for decades, her indigence would stew on for years untamed and unchanged. Every little misdeed was blown up like a balloon. Every real misdeed hurt her to the core. She wrestled with many grudges and it was painful to witness. She struggled to let go of hurt, instead she let multiple grudges define her. Do you know anyone like this?
The trouble is – it is pretty easy to build a case against anyone or anything. It is very easy to be critical and point out the faults of someone else. It is, of course, more tricky to see our own shortcomings. The reality is this and I have witnessed this truth time and time again, the only person who is hurt by the grudge is the person carrying it around.
A grudge is like trying to carry very cumbersome excess baggage onto a flight. If you’re honest with yourself, you know you are going to get hit with an almighty fine or at the very least your back will break from the weight. We know it is probably best to just chuck the baggage in the bin, move on and forget about it but we have grown quite attached. It has become part of us and it is hard to let go of what feels normal, even if it hurts us – a lot!
Who or what do you grudge? Does anyone hold a grudge against you? Have you mastered the art of forgiveness?