Val Baldwin, CPC was back in studio with us to talk about holding a grudge. Holding a grudge is a self-destructive behavior. It can truly ruin your life! The only one who gets punished by it is you, not the person who has caused you the pain. Not only do you feel emotionally hurt, but if you don’t deal with your grudge, you can also get physical problems. It causes anger, anxiety, depression, paranoia, insomnia and even physical pain.
Step 1: Recognize that you have a problem. You have to recognize the fact that you hold a grudge and that you are the only one getting punished by it. When you are ready to admit that this is indeed a problem, you are ready to deal with it.
Step 2: Don’t wait for an apology. If you wait until someone apologizes before you forgive them, you’re placing control of how you feel in their hands. Sometimes the offender isn’t even aware that they hurt you, or they’re incapable of caring. The simple words “I’m sorry” can be healing, but so is deciding that you no longer need to hear those words. Be the bigger person and put the incident behind you.
Step 3: Forgive. Forgiving someone doesn’t exempt them from their actions. It doesn’t change the facts. If you have been legitimately wronged, then forgiving doesn’t mean you have to forget. It does mean that you acknowledge that the person is human and that we all make mistakes. Try to see the disagreement from the other person’s point of view and why they behaved the way they did. Was it their upbringing? Were they under stress that day? Are they jealous of you? This will help you empathize with them, making it easier to let go of blame.
If you’re not quite ready to forgive yet, start by saying that you are willing to forgive. That’s a powerful step in the right direction.
Step 4: Shift your focus. Look at the good things about the person. Find the positive in the situation. Maybe you learned a lesson and discovered something new about yourself. Changing your viewpoint will help you release resentment.
Step 5: Don’t feed the monster. Once you’ve voiced your resentment and committed to moving on, don’t continually talk about the offense. If you find yourself thinking about it, mentally change the subject. If someone brings it up, explain that it’s in the past and you don’t want to dwell on it. When you forgive and let go of a grudge, you’re not giving up on justice. It’s about letting go of your own suffering. Confucius said it brilliantly, “If you devote your life to seeking revenge, first dig two graves.”