Character flaw No. 8: I am vengeful, by nature, and can hold a grudge for eons.
grudge (noun): a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury
Synonyms: spite, malice, resentment, negativity and plain stupidity
I’ve been trying this new thing called “being a better person” and I come to a roadblock every time I’m stuck thinking about ways to “get back at someone.” Maybe it’s the fact that shows like Gossip Girl and Dexter are among my top 10, maybe it’s the fact that I was raised to “stand up for myself” to the point where I’ve become extremely vengeful, or maybe it’s my screwed up notion that the universe needs to be in constant balance.
But, lately, I’ve realized that these lingering grudges are what have been preventing me from moving forward.
For example: I’m feeling good, I’m feeling happy. I read a tweet from someone I am not fond of. I “subtweet” them back. They subtweet me back. I’m angered. I’m childish. I’ve taken a step backward.
It’s said that “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I couldn’t agree more! By holding on to a grudge I am poisoning my very being. I become dark, vengeful, angry and negative in every form. In reality, I make a fool out of myself in an attempt to make a fool out of someone else.
But wait, what about the benefits of holding a grudge?
Some argue that by holding a grudge you “burn your past” or prevent yourself from getting hurt once more. I mean, think about it, if you tell yourself time and time again that someone is a “horrible person,” you will consciously and subconsciously avoid all interaction with this person and potentially eliminate that pain from your life. Also, if people know you’re vengeful and great at taking things deep and to the heart, they will probably steer clear from your path.
SAY “HELLO” TO A LIFETIME OF NO MORE PAIN AND SUFFERING
No. No. That’s actually impossible.
See, I quickly started to realize that the cons of holding a grudge definitely outweighed the benefits. What if the person I was holding a grudge toward had the potential to transform into a great friend? What if people are so afraid to “cross my path” that I miss the opportunity for new experiences and friendships? What if holding a grudge is preventing me from living as an optimist? Most importantly, aside from all of those wishy-washy questions, how is holding a grudge affecting me physically?
That’s an interesting concept Mayo Clinic had a lot to say about. According to them, by “letting go” you can experience:
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
Well, that explains my general anxiety disorder and desire for drink specials…
Clearly, I came to the conclusion that grudges are bad for you. But that didn’t mean I’d stop holding on to them.
I started by eliminating my social network wrongdoings. I blocked a couple of people I knew would cause my heart some trouble. The thing about grudges, too, is the fact that it came to the point where I only held them out of emotional backfire. The moment I saw someone offend me via the internet I immediately sent out some sort of comeback because of some silly frustration.
All was well until someone gave me some intense “baby momma” news.
“This girl must hate me back so she did it on purpose. Let’s make fun of her and torture her life some more.”
Dear Lissette, you sound immensely crazy. Please stop.
I am so thankful for the fact that my phone was blasted with the news. This really became a turning point in my life.
“Holding a grudge is like picking up a piece of red, hot coal in your bare hand and throwing it at the person you are holding the grudge towards. There is certainly the possibility that you will hit, and hurt the other person. But in order to achieve that potential end you are definitely going to hurt yourself in the process.”
I had a choice. And I chose to let the coal burn from the pit it came from and walk over to this person empty-handed and open-hearted. I wrote to her congratulating her and acknowledging that regardless of all the pain we’ve caused each other the time had come to move forward.
How to let go, you ask?
1. Acknowledge the pain: Denying the fact that you were hurt can only make things worse.
2. Speak to the offender: Let the person know how you feel and the process you are going through.
3. Eliminate high expectations: Learn to accept the fact that people can, and will, make mistakes.
4. Choose peaceful and productive thoughts: Think happy thoughts. Attract happy moments.
5. Let go: Move forward knowing you have made a positive impact in your life, and someone else’s.
As cliché as this sounds, life is definitely too short to let negativity hold you back from being living a healthy and happy life. All the time we spend thinking of ways to harm others that have harmed us, we can spend laughing and building bright memories with those we love and those we have yet learned to love.
And with that, I say: Cheers to a future without hate, negativity and grudges.
What are your thoughts?