HEALTHY HABITS FOR A HAPPIER LIFE: LETTING GO OF GRUDGES

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

This is week three in my series on Healthy Habits For A Happier Life. You can read the previous posts here and here.

girl with balloon letting go

Yesterday I started rummaging around my drawers looking for my counselor hat. 

Awww there it was languishing at the back of a drawer, waiting for me to pull it out, dust it off, and plop it on my head.

I knew when I decided to write this post that I was going to need that hat. (No, counselors don't actually wear hats. It's a metaphor, but I do have a cute straw hat for gardening.)

Holding a Grudge

angry

Are you like me? Do you have a hard time letting things go? 

I think you know what I mean. Someone wrongs you and you want to just squeeze every ounce of outrage for as long as possible from that wrong. 

If at this point you are thinking that you have a right to be angry, you are right. However, there is a difference between anger in the moment and holding a grudge.

Holding a grudge means maintaining feelings of anger and resentment toward a person for something they did, especially when that wrong was done to you.

How Holding a Grudge Harms You

sad face

Although it is very important to never minimize your emotions, hanging on to negative emotions for long periods of time subjects your body to stress.

In a previous post, I talked about stress and the effects it has on your body. If you missed that post or want to read it again you can find it here.

Needless to say, stress is not good for your mental and physical health, and long-term stress does the most damage. 

When you hold a grudge it brings out negative emotions because you are holding onto anger and that anger tends to grow. It traps you.

Holding a grudge and ruminating on it can keep you from moving on with your life. It can keep you from being happy, and this series is all about having a happier life.

Holding a grudge does not solve your problem, so maybe it is time to Forgive For Good.

Is It Healthy Anger Or A Grudge

pocket watch in sand

At this point, you may be saying, "that is all well and good, Laura, but I am still angry about what that so and so did to me." 

Let's talk about the difference between healthy anger and holding a grudge. 

Healthy anger tends to dissipate. Over a period of time, the anger you feel will start to lessen and might be helped by talking about it working through it in your mind, or getting an apology.

Holding a grudge, on the other hand, tends to become worse over time and makes you feel even worse when you think about it. 

Letting Go Of Grudges

just picked apple

These are some tips to help you work through and let grudges go, but if you are having a hard time and the anger is affecting your life, you may want to consider talking to a professional therapist.

I found these tips on Modern Therapy

  • Acknowledge The Grudge: Determine what the problem is and figure out what it causing you to hold on to it. It is then that you can make the choice to move on.
  • Communicate: Once you know what the problem is you can decide if you want to work it out within yourself or talk about it with someone else.
  • See Things From Their Perspective: This can be a hard one, but trying to see the situation from their perspective can help. It becomes easier to let go of a grudge when we understand the person we are holding the grudge against.
  • Accept The Situation: You can accept the grudge for what it is and choose your own healing. You do not have to get an apology in order to heal.
  • Don't Dwell: Once you have decided to let go of the grudge keep moving forward. Don't let others drag you backward. If they bring it up then change the subject.
  • Stay Positive: Congratulations, you have learned how to let a grudge go, and now that you know yourself better you can use that information to avoid negative feelings.
  • Choose To Forgive: Forgiving does not mean you have to forget. I think this can sometimes be the hardest distinction for people to make, but it is an acceptance that everyone makes mistakes and it is the road to peace. 
Healthy habits encompass both the physical and the mental and finding ways to strengthen both will lead us to a happier life. 

Shop:

Anger Management For A Zen Mind

The Self Confidence Workbook

Whole Again

Forgive For Good

Letting go of grudges

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Comments

  1. This really is a tough issue and one that causes us all a lot of grief and heartache. I've had to forgive without an apology and move on without any understanding of the 'whys' of it all. But I live in the present and don't dwell on the past...for the most part. It's the only way I can stay sane...oh and healthy! I concentrate on what I have now and how I can live my life in a better way after seeing some pretty bad examples of miserable lives that I've been exposed to! I choose to be happy. Thanks for this wonderful series my friend! I woke up wondering what todays issue would be! You are the best! If you got this comment the first time, just delete this one! lol

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  2. Grudges are harder on the individual harboring them than on the ones they're holding the grudge against. I've learned that the hard way. Great post!
    Brenda

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  3. Holding onto any negative feelings really does a number on your health. It does feel better after you let it go. Happy Wednesday have a great week. xoxo Kris

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  4. I held a grudge for a long time against a former boss. I told someone that when she finally gets fired, then I'll be happy. That person asked if I really wanted my old boss to have that much control over my happiness. It stopped me in my tracks to hear that, but it made me think, and I let go of the grudge. (PS - She did get fired, eventually, and I was still happy, lol)!

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