Why You Need To Let Go And Move On: The Dangers Of Holding A Grudge

by Susy Alexandre
“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” — Confucius

There isn’t anyone out there who hasn’t felt wronged at one point or another by someone he or she trusted. I’m a fairly sensitive person who has a very trusting nature. In other words, I’m somewhat naïve to the crapshoot that is human relationships.

Whether on purpose or unintentional, we are built to break at some point. It makes us strong and alerts us to the sometimes unfortunate nature of the world. It’s rough out there and you must see the dark to appreciate the light.

So, what do we do when someone breaks that trust and hurts us? When someone harpoons your heart and rocks you in the worst way to your very core? Typically, post-tantrum, we log onto Facebook and hit UNFRIEND.

Easy. Done. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong.

Think of the last person who set you off; the last time you felt Russell Crowe-crazy? Just thinking about it probably gets your heart rate climbing, your fists clenching and your teeth grinding. That’s because letting go is easier said than done.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way preaching for unconditional forgiveness. Quite frankly, not everyone deserves it. The issue is the grudge, the holding onto something subconsciously, after the fact. I get it: Forgetting isn’t easy.

I’m still peeved at the lady who snagged my parking spot last week at Whole Foods. Let’s just say it’s a blessing for the both of us that my windows were rolled up. Thinking about it now irritates me, but for what? To reminisce my past frustration?

Harboring resentment — even to the smallest degree — causes suffering to no one but you. Everything, from the lady who stole your spot to the boy who broke your heart, weighs on you to a degree relative to how much you let the situations fester in your mind.

Letting go is therapeutic on every level. Once you realize that no one and no situation is worthy of taking you outside of yourself, you’ve already won.

Yes, it’s impossible to avoid feeling resentment or dwelling on negative emotions every now and then; anger is a natural reaction that reminds us just how deep our feelings run. However, resentment is like moving out but continuing to carry the key: unnecessary and potentially confusing.

Here are some steps to help you drop the dead weight of a grudge:

Recognize The Signs

Whenever you feel your mind go to that dark place, stop and take stock of what’s happening. By taking control of your mind and making a quick inventory of your thoughts, you can identify what triggered the thought.

Granted, if the guy in the Honda driving ahead of you reminds you of your ex, I wouldn’t recommend rear-ending him and boycotting Honda.

However, if you find your iTunes playlist brings up every memory you shared with your ex, it might be time to download some new tunes… and maybe change the station when John Legend comes on.

Turn A Negative Into A Positive

How you feel is entirely up to you. Happy people don’t just wake up that way. The happiest of people are the way they are because they choose to acknowledge the good and the bad in their lives, but they only truly nurture what makes them happy.

We all have blessings in our lives; things for which we are uniquely fortunate to have. When you feel negative thoughts creep up, acknowledge that you are giving in to a spot of weakness when you should be focusing on a mountain of strength and positivity. Take control and turn negative thoughts into positives.

Keep Positive People Close

In any time of frustration, it helps to be around people who allow you to vent and get things out of your system. When all is said and done, however, you’re better off calling it quits on the pity party and surrounding yourself with positive people.

Nothing breeds negativity and resentment more than a “venting session” that transpires way after a frustration’s expiration date.

Positive people and positive attitudes are contagious. Catch the bug and get happy! Cue everyone breaking out in song and dancing to Pharrell's latest…

All things considered, life is just too short to spend it compiling negativity within the self and putting it back out into the world. Contribute some positivity and before long, you’ll reap the rewards that only a clean slate and uncluttered mind can acquire.

Photo Courtesy: Eva Merry