I think it’s fairly safe to say that each and every one of us have been wronged by someone during the course of our lives. Or, we at least felt like we were wrong by somebody in our lives, regardless if it was a family member, a friend, a coworker or even a stranger that you just cross paths within that exact moment. This person may have said something or done something that genuinely hurt your feelings or that you felt was disrespectful. And as a result, you started to harbor feelings of anger, frustration, or aggravation towards this particular person. These feelings, if left unattended, can produce deep-seated resentments, which usually transform into this act of holding a grudge.
Now I am not saying it’s unacceptable to have these feelings of anger or frustration or to feel sad and upset. In that moment, they shouldn’t be considered unjust or unwarranted because you’re entitled to feel your feelings, especially when they arise in response to something negative or undesirable that happens in your life. Those brief moments are not the issue. What needs to be addressed is how you deal with those feelings moving forward. As time passes, did you let go of those feelings or did you allow them to develop into these resentments and grudges?
If your actions normally gravitate towards the latter, then the only person that you’re hurting is yourself. You see, there’s this saying, “Holding on to this anger, holding on to these grudges is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die”. Think about this statement. When you have these resentments, when you have these grudges, and you hold on to them, it’s like drinking that poison, figurately of course. You aren’t going to literally harm yourself by clinging to a resentment or grudge, but they will take a toll on your overall well-being if left to fester.
But, in your head, you justify harboring these resentments and grudges towards somebody because you really think by having them you will directly affect this person. You may even repeat statements in your head such as, “They’ll see.” or “They’ll get what’s coming to them”. This mentality is harmful to you and only you, not this other person. It consumes you. You allow it to rent space in your brain. And by continuously thinking about it, you will continue to poison yourself with negative thoughts that affect you physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
And what’s quite interesting is that the fact that this person that you’re holding a grudge towards might not even be aware of this grudge. They may not be aware that they did something wrong. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t actually do something wrong, it just wasn’t brought to their attention during the interaction or any subsequent time after. So, if you didn’t approach this person and tell them how you felt, then how can this person even know that they may have disrespected your or hurt your feelings?
It’s possible they weren’t in the wrong. It’s also possible that they were. Nonetheless, you are still entitled to the feelings you felt, but it is up to you the individual to bring it to this persons attention that something they did made you feel a certain type of way. Because, if you don’t, then how do would they know? Therefore, if they go on living their life not knowing what happened and you go on living your life with this grudge, then at the end of the day you’re only hurting yourself, you’re only poisoning yourself. You’ve given yourself permission to be consumed by these feelings of anger, these feelings of resentment and that’s not okay.
If you perceive these feelings of anger, frustration, and resentment as poison, then why would you want to hold on to them? Why would you want to harbor them? Why would you willingly want to poison yourself? The short answer and correct answer is that you wouldn’t want to poison yourself. In actuality, no one should want to poison themselves because it doesn’t really make any sense to have that desire. But, I know from personal experience that regardless of the potential harm I’d cause myself, I would hold on to these grudges with a tight grip. It wasn’t until a certain point where I realized the reason why I wouldn’t let go of these grudges and it all surrounded this idea of control. I felt that I could control the situation or had total control over it if I held on to this resentment towards another person.
This was all an illusion that basically tricked me into believing that the power dynamic was shifted in my favor. I assumed that I was the person with the upper hand all because of this grudge, but what I didn’t yet recognize was how I came to this conclusion. A thought process that traveled through a twisted lens of justification and rationalization was the only way someone could think this way and I was no exception.
Once I grasped the damage I was bestowing upon myself with this way of thinking, I knew that I had to stop. Breaking this cycle was most important at first, but the tough part arose after becoming aware of the problem, which was addressing the problem and changing my destructive habits. I’m not going to sugar coat this or try to make it sound simple because it wasn’t. This process and transformation was extremely difficult. I had to be brutally honest with myself and not only myself to take the easy way out.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to self-growth and self-evolution. You get out what you put in. If you want to stay stuck or maybe sluggishly progress on your path, then do the bare minimum and take the easy way out. If you want, if you truly want to evolve, to grow, and to be the best version of yourself, you are going to have to put in some serious work. Work that is going to be painful. Work that is going to bring up a lot of emotions that you may not want to face. But, as long as you understand what you are trying to achieve, you’ll know that all the hard work will eventually pay off.
That’s what I did. I put in the work. I am no different than you, which means that if I can do it, you can do it. And, I am here to tell you that it’s worth it. I am speaking from experience. I know what it feels like to face that challenge, to look into the eye of that impending storm and have complete trust in my ability to preserve and make it to the other side. When I genuinely started to remove all grudges, all resentments, and any other negative feelings that didn’t serve me, it felt like a weight began to lift off of my shoulders. It felt like I could finally breathe again.
I no longer allowed, I no longer approved any of these grudges or resentments to enter my consciousness. This doesn’t mean that I fully absolved myself from ever feeling anger or frustration. I still develop those feelings from time to time, but today I have tools in my toolbox to defend myself from old habits and old ways of thinking. You see, we can allow ourselves to go in one of two directions. We can regress and resort to old behaviors and ultimately set ourselves up for pain, misery, or sadness because that’s how that story plays out every single time. Or, we can be honest with ourselves. We can admit to ourselves that we are hurt, that we are angry, that we are frustrated. We can begin to process these feelings in a constructive manner, eventually coming to terms with their root causes and how to move forward. Then, and only then, we can confidently acknowledge those feelings for what they are and release them. We accept and we let go. We accept and we grow.
Choose growth. Choose evolution. Choose the path that is going to lead you to become a better version of yourself one day at a time. Choose the life that is going to bring you happiness, that is going to bring you joy, and that is going to bring you pure freedom. That should be your motivation every single day. When you miraculously wake up, don’t harbor feelings of resentment or anger, harbor feelings of blessings and gratitude to be alive, in this moment, on this planet called Earth.