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Why Holding A Grudge Is Bad For You!

A buddy borrowed $100 from my husband. He promised to pay him back. My husband waited. He played pool with his friend a few weeks later. No mention of the debt was made. The next time they got together, he expected this guy to say something, anything. Nothing. My husband started to get mad. The tension was building in their relationship. He had a decision to make – hold onto the anger or hold onto the friendship. What would you do?

Holding a grudge is like poison for your emotional health. It slowly eats away warmth and tenderness in your heart making you cold inside. Resentment builds slowly, almost unnoticed until something triggers it and suddenly it is a roaring lion, refusing to be ignored. What can you do? Choosing to forgive restores you. This is how you do it.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Carrie Fisher

My husband decided to say something the next time they played pool. He casually asked how things were going and then brought up the touchy subject of the debt. It was uncomfortable, awkward to discuss. Finally, the friend confessed that several other expenses had come up unexpectedly and he felt really bad that he couldn’t pay him back as fast as he thought he could. On the spot, my husband did something remarkable – he chose to forgive the debt.

I was shocked when he told me. ‘Why did you do that?” I asked. He said he realized that by holding on to the debt, it was ruining a really good friendship. He didn’t want that money to become a wedge between them.

Everyone deals with “issues” in their relationships. Some are slight, others are heavy. We each have a choice to make – are we going to hold onto the “debt” the other person owes us or will we forgive? My husband realized a very important truth that day – he wanted to forgive for HIS benefit. His anger was affecting HIM, not the other guy. The resentment was eating away how he felt toward this man he’d been friends with for years. It just wasn’t worth it to him to hold onto this “debt” anymore.

So how do you let it go?

Tips To Let Go

1. Admit It

Recognize that you are holding onto anger or resentment toward the other person. We get so used to ignoring our feelings by staying busy that sometimes we don’t want to admit there’s a problem. If you notice you get irritated easily with someone, chances are there’s a grudge underneath. Let yourself become aware of it. Stop hiding it or pretending it isn’t there.

2. Make The Decision

Choosing to forgive is not a feeling. It’s a decision you make. It’s often a very tough decision to make. You decide whether you want to keep being mad or whether you want to feel better inside. If there’s been an injustice, staying mad at the other person does NOT solve things. It only makes you miserable and weighs you down inside (we call that emotional baggage). Find another way to restore justice to the situation.

For instance, my husband decided that he would not loan money to that friend again. He set a healthy boundary to protect their friendship. As long as the money was not involved, their friendship could flourish and it has for many years.

3. Let It Go

Do something to demonstrate that you are letting it go. Some people write out the “debt” the other person owes them and then they rip up the paper or burn it. If the debt is emotional, throw away something that represents the pain they caused you.

Find a way to get it out of your system. Talking out loud can help – imagine the person is in the empty chair in front of you and let them have it. Say whatever that needs to be said and then move away. Letting it go is a choice. You can do it.

As you read this article, perhaps a specific person comes to mind. Time for an emotional detox.

  • Admit that something is bothering you.
  • Get clear on what it is.
  • Make the decision that’s best for you.
  • Choose to let it go and get it out of your system.
  • Your heart will thank you.

Removing the energy of the grudge frees you up to experience more peace and joy – that’s what you really want, isn’t it?

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Sandy Walker

Most of my life, people have been coming to me to help them solve their problems. And I've been doing that - by listening, by giving them feedback, by providing a safe place for them to "think out loud" and by giving them insight into WHY they are doing what they are doing - and most importantly how to make changes in their life that will make them happier. After I completed my Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling, I decided to pursue Life Coaching professionally. I LOVE to help people. Seeing people change their lives for the better is so amazing to watch! And it happens so quickly! Most of my clients see big changes within just 4 sessions. I love watching the transformation - it is beautiful to see someone become truly happy and fulfilled.

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