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I Actually Think It’s Okay to Hold a Grudge: Let Me Tell You Why

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Winona chapter.

I’m about to tell you something that no one has ever told you before. It’s okay to hold a grudge. 


Google dictionary defines a grudge as “a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.” And honestly, I’ve always believed a grudge was a bad thing. Now that I’m older and have more experience in this area, I want to challenge that. 


I know that I’m contradicting everything you’ve ever been told, but I think as a society we are kind of forced to forgive people before we are ready. People say they’re sorry and the automatic response is “it’s okay” or “I forgive you.” But why? Sometimes it’s really not okay and sometimes I really don’t feel ready to forgive them, but I say it anyway. Why? Because it’s the only way I was ever taught to handle apologies and forgiveness.


The things people do and do to you speak volumes. Actions speak louder than words, that’s for d*mn sure. Someone can apologize for what they did and explain that it will never happen again, but it’s up to you to decipher if that’s true or not. In many cases, they’re genuine—but not in all. Some questions to ask yourself before being quick to forgive include: Are they genuine? Is this an apology to make it all go away rather than a genuine plea for forgiveness? Did they even apologize at all?


If a person made a mistake or simply didn’t think through their actions or words and truthfully are sorry, forgive them. This is how people grow. I have made more mistakes and done more things that I regret than I can even remember. It’s really important to let go of things that weigh you down from your past. That’s just for your own sanity, honey. But you do not have to accept people back into your life and your heart when they have done something fundamentally wrong.  It’s the same thing with gossip. You can let go of what someone said about you, but you don’t have to just shrug off the fact that they betrayed you as a friend.


Let me explain a little.


I used to have a friend who hurt me over and over and over again. They spread lies about me, they took action to specifically hurt me, and they would turn situations around to make me feel as if I was in the wrong. Every time I left the room, I knew there was a high chance they were speaking poorly about me. The worst part? No one else saw it. 


Am I mad about the things that person said about me or the things they did all that time ago? No, not really. Anyone who believed the untruthful things don’t know my heart and my character, and the things that happened actually led me to the wonderful parts of my life now. I know everything happens for a reason, and I can see that now. However, will we ever be friends again? No. I can let go of the things that happened, but what I can’t let go of is that this is a part of who that person is. They showed me that they were not a good friend, and in reality, not the type of person I want in my life at all.


So yeah, I’m telling you to hold a grudge. But what I’m really saying is that it’s important to give your heart time to heal and forgive. Get over the thing they did, but don’t just “get over” why they did it. It’ll tell you a lot about who they are and what kind of friend they are. I want to go ahead and rephrase “don’t hold a grudge” to “don’t hold a grudge forever.”  Holding a grudge forever can be burdensome to you. Do not carry hate in your heart; don’t stir over the words they said and the actions they took. Everything that happens in your life leads you to the place you are now and the person you are today. Use the experience of being wronged to decipher what you disclose to people in the future, how you interact with that person who hurt you, and whether you want them in your life altogether. With all that being said, don’t force yourself to forgive before you are ready.


(Let’s be clear that revenge is an entirely different story. I don’t think it’s right to intentionally cause harm to others. I know when people do this, it comes from a place of hurt, but be careful how you handle hurt and being wronged. If you retaliate and try to wrong a person like they wronged you, you risk tarnishing your own image and sacrificing who you are because of how you chose to respond to what someone else did to you.)




Alexa Jo is a senior at Winona State studying Psychology and Communication Studies. She enjoys learning new skills, getting outside, upcycling clothes, and hanging out with the people she loves. She likes to write stories that are real, raw, and have just a touch of humor. She writes because she believes she has a lot to say, and wants to talk about the things others are scared to talk about. She uses her writing to share her experiences and uplift others. She hopes to one day work for a non profit in campaigns for social change.