Grudges

I've been thinking and thinking. This week that just passed brought a lot of reflection to my life. Ups and downs. Not medium ones but really elevated, really deep ones. In the end I concluded that my little family. My husband and my kids are my priority, everything else is not in my power right now. 

This weekend I was told that maybe I had too many issues in my head. I took two whole days to reflect on that. I realized something I have been struggling with. I was able to identify what a grudge really is and why so many times as women we allow abuse and pain in our lives. 

A grudge from what I understand now is an instance where someone has offended you, and the person offended just can't let go. The offender may have said sorry, maybe not. But the recipient regardless of an apology would not have forgotten the offense and moved on. They would hold resentment and allow it to burn them inside. 

What a grudge is not, is when a person offends another, asks for forgiveness, the recipient accepts it and the offender continues to repeat the offense over and over again. The person offended then remembers the past offenses because the offender never apologized sincerely because they continue repeating the offense.

As a woman, I know that I have allowed this behavior in my life. I think okay they said sorry I need to let go. Then it happens again, and again. When there is a problem it needs to be addressed.

Sometimes my kids fight with each other and I used to just make them say sorry to each other then they would fight and hit each other again. I researched a bit and found a great answer. This book said to make the kids sit together on a couch and keep them there until they resolved the problem. This would teach them to talk and fix the problem. Instead of running away, setting it aside, or teaching them it was okay to hurt someone as long as you apologize after. As adults many of us need couch sit-ins with the same humility, innocence and willingness to forgive as a child. Genuine love, care and forgiveness. 

Forgiveness is important because it enables growth. It is more important to remember what we can learn as we truly forgive. Forgiveness does not mean we must allow others to continue offending us over and over. 

I like the explanation of forgiveness Katherine Piderman, Ph.D., gave for her Mayo Clinic article on "Letting go of grudges and bitterness," 


Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.


Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.


How do I reach a state of forgiveness?


Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. A way to begin is by recognizing the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time. Then reflect on the facts of the situation, how you've reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being. When you're ready, actively choose to forgive the person who's offended you. Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life. As you let go of grudges, you'll no longer define your life by how you've been hurt. You may even find compassion and understanding.


I know I personally need to remind myself all the time to let go. I always remember to remember my lessons, not the hurtful feelings that brought them about. If someone is hurting you, keep your distance. If someone envelops you in unnecessary drama, keep your distance. Prevent unnecessary confrontations with people who have not come to terms with their personalities. Find peace in your life and do whatever you need to maintain it. This does not mean you are holding a grudge or haven't forgotten. You can forgive and remember to protect your heart without being mean or intruding on others progress.

Always be honest with yourself and others, it may be hard to tell someone how you feel the first time but once it is out of the way, both of you will have more peace.  It is better to tell someone why you are avoiding them so they can reflect on your reasoning than to just make them feel unwanted for no reason. Hey if you tell them maybe they'll tweak themselves a bit after self reflection.

I am writing this to remind myself of the lessons I have learned this week.

“Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life.”



Comments

this was a great post. makes me reflect alot too. it made me think of how many times i need to just let go and forgive. its hard.
Dithefilizola said…
I've always had a hard time forgiving.  Thanks for the hints. I really like this . . .
Flor Olivo said…
me too! but i've concluded its better for my health :-)
Ella Venezia said…
Flor- Thank you for sharing what you uncovered as you delved into this topic. I like how you distinguished between just apologizing and truly changing behavior.  As you explained, we also have to be prepared to walk away or  keep at arm's length those relationships where the person continues the behavior. Forgiveness doesn't mean we accept the behavior, it means we can come to a place of understanding that the person is at a place in their lives where they cannot do differently.  But this doesn't mean we have to remain in a relationship with this person (then we set ourselves up to be victimized). 
-Ella

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