“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Ain’t that the truth?
I used to be the kind of person who could hold a grudge for a lifetime, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised that it’s so unhealthy to live that way.
Life is about progression, and when you’re holding on to a grudge you stay stuck in the same place.
There’s just no point – what does holding a grudge really do for you?
I’m not saying anything new here – I’m sure we all recognise that holding a grudge is pointless.
But sometimes we do it anyway – because we’re so protective of ourselves and our emotions. We’re all afraid of getting hurt. We’re all so careful with who we give our trust to, so when it’s abused, it cuts very deep.
So don’t get me wrong – I do get that it’s easier said than done sometimes. But we need to make a conscious effort to let go of resentment and not allow it to fester inside of us.
Our minds, bodies and souls will thank us.
1- Holding on to resentment attracts more resentment
I’ve held grudges at various points in my life. If someone hurt me, I’d make sure they knew about it, and then I’d completely cut them off.
Yet I’d continue to think about that person, and every time I did, the pain and anger would come back.
And you know what happened?
I attracted more and more experiences where I’d feel hurt and angry because of someone else’s actions towards me.
I thought it was just me being a sensitive person, but since changing the way I deal with grudges I don’t experience that kind of pain anymore – and I’m still as sensitive as I ever was.
Thoughts become things and we attract what we think about the most, so if we keep thinking about a situation where someone hurt us and how angry we are, that’s all we see, so we attract more of the same.
We subconsciously take that resentment into our future relationships – our partners feel it, our friends and family members feel it – it just breeds negativity and creates a cycle.
But when we’re thinking about how much we love the people in our lives and how grateful we are for them, we attract more people to love and be grateful for. That’s what I’ve discovered since giving up grudges, and that’s why my relationships with people are so much better now.
2- A grudge is dead weight
Holding on to a grudge is like walking around with a huge sack of bricks on your shoulders. You might be OK at first, but eventually, the weight gets heavier and heavier, and every step becomes a struggle.
Your body gets tired. Your mind gets tired. Your pace slows down until you eventually just stop because you can’t go any further – the weight of the bricks just won’t allow you to move forward.
You can only move on when you find the strength to pick up that sack of bricks, turn it upside down and let them all fall out.
Imagine how that feels after carrying the bricks for so long – the energy around your shoulders clearing up, the new-found strength and vitality flowing through you. Not only can you walk, but you can run, skip, do whatever you want because you’re free – there’s nothing weighing you down.
We literally have a choice – we can be the person dragging around a sack of heavy bricks or we can be the person strolling freely with a spring in every step. I know which one I’m choosing – what about you?
3- You’re interrupting the flow of the universe
Who remembers, back at school when everyone went through that phase of putting their palms in people’s faces and saying ‘talk to the hand’?!
That’s basically what you’re doing to the universe when you’re holding a grudge.
Life has a funny way of connecting us with other humans – it’s so weird. Almost like a conveyor belt of people going through our lives, some pass us by, some get off and stay for a bit, or forever. Some get back on and leave.
But this conveyor belt never stops. So the ones that leave sometimes end up coming right back around – and I strongly believe that when that happens – it’s for a reason.
When you’re holding a grudge against someone – you’re not open to that reasoning.
Sometimes people come back to teach us lessons we need to learn and by not being open to that, we’re delaying our growth progress.
Sometimes it’s simply a case of one or both of you needing time to evolve and become better people before you’re truly ready to enjoy each other’s presences in your lives.
There have been many times where I’ve fallen out with someone or lost contact with people on bad terms, only for them to re-enter my life some time later. If I had held on to a grudge and blocked those people from coming back, I wouldn’t have some of the beautiful friendships I have now.
People grow, people change, people learn.
Sometimes a fight and a period of time where you don’t talk gives both of you some much-needed time to learn and think. And sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to make a relationship stronger.
Now I’m not saying that you should just let everyone back in your life – of course, it totally depends on the situation.
But I am saying that you should be open to the flow of life and the universe, and trust the vibes you get.
If someone comes back you should follow your intuition – it will tell you if a relationship has run its course, or if it’s worth giving this person another chance.
Holding on to resentment blocks that inner knowing, the ability we all have to let our intuition guide us.
Sometimes people come back, and as much as we’re ready to accept their apologies – we’ve moved on and it’s clear that we’re both at different places in our lives. That is OK. Energy and vibes will guide you – just be open to it.
4 -Resentment drives people away. You can sense it
Whether you realise it or not, energy is all around us. Everywhere.
It’s very strong and it doesn’t lie.
And holding on to grudges contributes to the energy you give out. When you speak about that person, that negativity will pour out of you – even if you think you’re being chill and talking about it in a casual way. It’s so obvious when someone is holding envy, anger or resentment towards another person.
And it’s not attractive.
When you have that kind of negative energy running through you, it’s like walking around with a stamp on your forehead.
People can feel it and it will cause them to be wary of you – they might wonder if this is a theme with relationships in your life, and avoid getting too close to you.
No – it really is that serious.
Resentment can drive us to say things, do things, it can actually consume us. Anything that has the power to make you feel pain when you think about it, is something that has the power to consume us if we allow it to.
We rethink the situations in our mind, re-feel the feelings, think about all the things we should have said when we had the chance, feel even worse. It’s like torturing ourselves.
And when we’re doing that, we leave no room for positivity. We can’t truly give love and happy vibes to other people when all of that is going on inside us.
How to let go of a grudge
1- Accepting responsibility and apologising
Some people claim being stubborn like it’s a badge of honour.
And don’t get me wrong – I do believe that stubbornness can be a very good trait – there are ways you can direct that unwavering mental strength that not everyone has, to do extremely positive things for your life.
But when it comes to letting go of grudges, stubbornness can play a very big part in holding us back from doing what we need to do.
As we all know, there are 2 sides to every situation, and sometimes getting out of our own perspective and taking the time to really listen to someone else’s, is all that needs to be done to resolve the issue.
If you played a part in something that’s happened, but you’re holding a grudge because you want the other person to apologise first, you’re risking holding on to that resentment for a very unnecessary amount of time.
If you want to free yourself from that negative energy, never be afraid to apologise first!
Don’t sit around waiting for an apology you might never get. You step up and be the one to make that change for your life.
Apologising or accepting responsibility doesn’t make you weak.
It makes you strong.
It takes a hell of a lot of strength to put our pride and egos aside and make the first move.
I’m speaking from experience. There are fallouts I had in the past where my attitude meant I would have never made the first move.
And thinking about that now blows my mind, because it means that I wouldn’t have some of the friendships and relationships I treasure so much now, if the other person hadn’t have made the first move.
And similarly, in the situations where I have made the first move, I am so glad that I did.
Nothing feels better than feeling that release of resentment, except knowing that you are the one that made it happen for yourself.
2- Opening the communication
There are situations in life where being honest and vulnerable can be scary, but it can also be the most rewarding thing.
If someone has done you wrong and you feel like you can’t move on, sometimes the best thing to do is to let them know.
You don’t have to argue or be confrontational – in fact, that’s the last thing you should be. Approach the topic from a place of total honesty, make it clear that your aim is to resolve by airing your feelings so you can move on.
Sometimes we hold back when it really would just make all the difference to say how we feel. If somebody hurts us, we have every right to let them know that they did.
Your honesty could prompt a release of honesty in the other person – you might get to hear their side, their perspective and understand the situation a little bit more.
You never really know how it will go – you can never know how somebody else is going to respond to hearing how their actions impacted you, and that’s what makes it so scary.
But what’s scarier is never finding out, and living with that resentment festering inside of you forever.
3- Release the emotion
If you’re in a situation where you can’t speak to the other person directly, or you just would rather not (that’s OK too) another good way to let go is symbolically.
You have to be fully ready to do this, though, or it won’t work.
By ready, I mean that your mind has to be so done with thinking about the situation. Your body has to be so tired from carrying around all those bricks.
You need to want nothing more than to get rid of this resentment inside you.
When you get to that point, you take a pen and paper (or even try my Relationship Repair and Shift your Perspective exercises) and write down everything that happened, how it made you feel, and ask the universe to help you release those negative feelings and replace them with love.
I spoke about this practice in detail in this post – but I like to write down everything I would say to that person if they were sitting in front of me.
Let everything out and tell yourself that this is the last time you will direct any focus to this situation.
Tell yourself that you accept this experience was for you, to help you learn and grow as a person and you have done that, so now it’s time to let go.
Be thankful for the lessons you learned.
Destroy the paper – burning it is a good method, as fire is such strong energy and watching that paper with all your emotions on it burn to nothing is the perfect symbolic representation of what you’re doing inside.
You’re letting all that negative energy out and letting it go until it’s nothing.
If you can’t burn it safely (Safety first people! 🙂 ) Then rip it into tiny pieces, throw it in the bin, whatever.
Just don’t have it around you any longer. It will be gone, and so will the resentment.
4- Look inside
Ask yourself why you’re holding the grudge.
Sometimes the issues we have with other people, have less to do with them and more to do with ourselves.
Maybe the fact that you’re holding this grudge is telling you something about the way you look at an area of your life.
Maybe that’s what stopping you from manifesting what you really want, therefore keeping you in the same place of resentment.
All you have to do is sit and think about this point if nothing else has worked and you truly feel you can’t let go.
I really believe that all the answers we need are within us.
We’re wiser than we give ourselves credit for, we know ourselves better than anyone else on the planet – yet we don’t make enough time to reflect on issues and ask ourselves what is really going on with us deep down.
Forgiving is the most crucial part of letting go of grudges and resentment, but it can also be the hardest part.
First, you need to accept that forgiving doesn’t make you a mug. You can forgive and move on, without letting the other person back in your life or allowing them to hurt you again.
You can forgive someone without even letting them know you’ve forgiven them.
You just have to know deep down that if they were happy in themselves, they wouldn’t have hurt you.
Happy people don’t hurt people.
So feel sorry for them – how truly unhappy must they have been within themselves, to hurt you in the way they did?!
Let go and forgive – not for them, but for you. Because it feels good for you. It benefits your life, not theirs.
When you let go of a grudge, you win.