We have all had a time in our lives where we have been hurt by someone that we love and trust. It’s virtually impossible to go through life without being let down in one way or another, but how you handle that pain is what is truly important. The natural reaction is to decide that you are never going to forgive the person who inflicted the pain, which means carrying a grudge with you for the rest of your life. The thing about grudges is that they tend to be a heavy load to carry. You have to consciously make sure that you hold onto that grudge, which means giving it more attention than it actually deserves.
If you are currently holding a long-term grudge against someone right now, take a moment to think about the situation that caused it to begin. Do you remember all the detail clearly, or are they beginning to get a little fuzzy around the edges? I will almost bet that some of you will even have difficulty remembering why you are still so mad at the person in question. Have you been spending more time shutting that person out than it would take to simply just forgive them and move on with your life? The answer to that question is generally a resounding YES! Please remember that forgiving them and moving forward does not necessarily mean that you have to continue any type of communication with them. You can do this on your own without them ever knowing.
What you may not understand is that holding onto a grudge for a long time can have a negative effect on your other relationships. The longer you allow hate and negativity to fester inside, the more likely it is to spill over into other parts of your life. You may find that you start to judge other people’s character based on a single action that reminds of what happened in the past. You may start to sabotage perfectly good relationships in an effort to avoid a repeat of the pain you felt the last time you were burned. This is not a healthy way to live your life.
It is not always easy to recognize this behavior in yourself, and self-awareness usually only comes when it is pointed out to you by a friend you have hurt by your actions. Oftentimes, it is being forgiven by someone that you have hurt that serves as the eye-opener that is required to get rid of the negativity in your life and move on to a happier, more joyful way of living.
The truth of the matter is that it is often easier to hold a grudge than it is to forgive, but the extra effort is well worth it in terms of your mental and physical health. If you are having problems letting go of a grudge, you can get some help by talking to a professional therapist. They can help you see how your actions are having a negative effect on the other areas of your life. They can teach you how to forgive without giving up on your principles, and they can also ensure that you look at the road ahead as opposed to constantly checking the rearview mirror.