Let’s face it, we’ve all held grudges at some point in our lives; even if we don’t intend to, subconsciously it creeps up on us. That friend who backstabbed you sophomore year, is now having dinner with you and your friends and you still can’t forget about that incident sophomore year. Your roommate who you’d lended money to months ago, has yet to pay you back, and now your relationship has tension; or your best friend is dating her sleazy ex-boyfriend again and now you basically avoid the couple at all costs. The grudge-monster lurks like a shadow behind you, placing judgment on any and all people who choose to do you wrong or who may react to situations differently than you.
Holding grudges can be addicting and poisonous. It’s an easy behavior to adapt and can escalate rapidly until, pretty soon, you have a list of friends who have all these “flaws” because of some conflict that had not been resolved well enough to make you forget about the incident.
I’ve been victim to the grudge-monster for most of my life. My motto was to trust and be loyal to my friends, unless they give me a reason to question that trust. If I had a major problem with a friend, I could forgive but never forget, a formula which usually leads to that sinister grudging disposition.
Why Holding Grudges Are Pointless:
Whether you disapprove of someone else’s actions or not, she will probably continue to display those behaviors. For example, if your friend dates a guy who you’re not so fond of, holding a grudge against her for dating him won’t stop her from continuing to date him. Rather, the grudging attitude may create distance within your friendship, to the point where you may lose her.
Everyone needs to make their own mistakes. Sometimes, even if you try to reason with your friend over an incident, they may not want to listen. At that point you need to let go and let her be. No amount of warnings will stop her from trying to do what she is determined on accomplishing, whether it be dating an ex-boyfriend, whom everyone in the friend group finds distasteful, or failing to study for her midterm exam, again, or spending all her money on drinks at the bar. She’ll shape up when the time is right.
People may be going through different life events. Plato once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting their own hard battle.” Give people the benefit of the doubt, and realize that they may be going through things you don’t know about, which caused them to make a careless decision or two. We all make mistakes. If the same conflicts arise repeatedly in the friendship, then it may be time to move past the relationship.
You only live once. Worry about yourself. Holding grudges puts the focus on disliking people around you, as if you’re a “victim” to all these people who are purposely bothering you. That is a pessimistic way to live and, most likely, not true. Change your perspective and focus on yourself and your life goals! Your true friends will always be on the sidelines cheering you on. Return the favor and make an active attempt at forgiving and forgetting when resolving conflicts with your friends, and supporting them in the same way
Following these rules will help to remove the heavy load of grudge-holding from your shoulders. You’ll feel like you’ve rid months worth of baggage and can live less stressfully than before. Also, with the school year coming to an end, this positive mindset will give you a clean slate and an open mind for new experiences.