Once you let go of a grudge, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. Your mind will no longer be clouded by resentment, anger, or sadness. To stop holding onto a grudge, come to terms with the situation, reach a state of forgiveness, and move on. Take a deep breath, and let go of the past!
1Practice empathy. See the situation from the offender’s perspective. Why would they behave that way? Maybe they had a really tough day at work. Maybe you would have reacted in a similar way if you were in their shoes. You can practice empathy by actively listening to others, opening up to others, withholding judgment, and volunteering.
2Reflect on times where you hurt others. Remember when your brother forgave you for calling him mean names? Think of when others have forgiven you, and extend similar compassion to those who you think wronged you.
Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Write down your account of the situation. What happened, why were you upset, and who wronged you? This will help you recognize that the distress you feel is from hurt feelings you still have. Letting everything out onto the page helps you understand your feelings.
- Writing everything down will empty your mind of any baggage associated with the grudge. Getting out all of those thoughts will offer you more room to fill the space with positive thoughts and help you let go.
4Share how you feel about the situation with a loved one. Talk about your grudge and the feelings associated with a trusted family member or friend. They can offer perspective to consider, like that it is time to talk to the person who upset you or that it is time to let go of a past breakup. Sharing with others will also help you understand exactly how you feel.
Reaching a State of Forgiveness
Identify what needs healing. Get to the root of the issue. Consider if the situation was a result of miscommunication or misunderstanding. Who is at fault, and who needs to be forgiven? Figure out how to solve the issue and who to forgive by first understanding the cause to begin with.
- Think about the effects the grudge has had on you.
- Do you find yourself not trusting other people?
- Do you find yourself acting irritable and angry more often?
- Are you experiencing physical issues like stomach pains or headaches?
- Have you changed your routines as a result of the offense?
- After you consider the grudge’s effects on you, ask yourself who it is helping for you to be experiencing all of that.
- Does it tell the offender anything?
- Is the offender bothered by it?
- Are you expecting to “get back” at the person somehow?
- How effective is the grudge? Is it just hurting you?
- Think about the effects the grudge has had on you.
Acknowledge what took place and how you feel. Recognize your emotions and the reality of the situation. Telling the truth about your feelings to yourself will help you to acknowledge the hurt you feel. Don’t deny the event, and go over the facts of what occurred. Was the situation really a big deal? If not, try to let go of it. If so, you should talk about it with the offender.
- When you evaluate the situation, step back and consider if this grudge is worth your time to pursue or to continue dwelling on. Sometimes you can let go of the grudge without discussing the situation with the offender.
- Ask yourself if holding the grudge is about you or them.
- Extend compassion to whatever caused the wound, and let it go. After you understand exactly what took place and how you feel, find commonalities as to why your offender may have acted the way they did. Once you realize that you got in a fight with your friend because she just lost her job, it will be easier to let go of your hard feelings.
3Remember that forgiveness is a process. Sometimes it takes multiple conversations to come to an understanding. Even small wounds may need to be looked over and forgiven again. Be patient with yourself and try to always think positively.
Moving on and Letting Go
Seek reconciliation with the person, if you desire. Speak to the person who offended you. Ask them to talk about what happened, and share your feelings with your offender. Tell them exactly why their words or actions upset you.
- When your offender apologizes, you can either accept it or explain that you are not over the situation yet.
- You can say something like, “Hey, Joe, remember last week when you told me the blue dress I wore was ugly? That really hurt my feelings, and I’ve been upset about it since.”
Confront issues as they occur to prevent this from happening again. When someone does something that upsets you, talk about it right away. If you don’t talk about the issue, you will hold in anger and anxiety, and this will further fuel your grudge. You must let out your emotions in order to move on.
- Don’t wait for someone else to apologize to you. That creates a sense of entitlement, and they may have no idea you are upset with them.
Accept the apology and forgive the person or situation. When forgiving, you are looking to find peace about the situation and find understanding with both parties. This does not mean that you are condoning their actions, but rather it means that you are deciding to move on by releasing the offense and the effect it has on you.
- Forgiving others also urges them to change their behavior in order to prevent future conflicts.
Don’t dwell on what happened. Let go your grudge so you will feel better. Don’t dwell on the situation, and resist any temptation to dwell when it surfaces.
- If it comes to mind, immediately think about something else or distract yourself with an activity like watching a movie or reading a book.
Release the toxic emotions associated with the situation. By revisiting the grudge and feelings of resentment, you are traumatizing yourself over and over each time you bring it to mind. Avoid this by letting go of the grudge out of love and respect to yourself, because you deserve to be happy.
- Remind yourself that you only have control over your response to a situation, so you can’t do anything about how the other person feels. Reinforce these boundaries in your mind so that you don’t feel responsible for someone else’s feelings.
- To give up your grudge, you have to commit to forgiving the other person, starting with letting go of the negative emotions you attached to the situation.
- You will feel lighter and happier after getting this off your chest.
Don’t put expectations on people or situations. If you have an expectation, you are setting yourself up for disappointment unless your intended outcome becomes reality. Give up expecting things from others and from your life, and instead focus on being healthy and happy.
- When you do have expectations for a situation, tell the other person what they are so that they know what they need to do to satisfy those expectations. People who fail to tell the other person what they want are setting themselves up for disappointment because the other person cannot read their mind.
- When you don’t have expectations, you are less likely to get upset if someone doesn’t meet them, and therefore you are less likely to hold a grudge.
Care for your emotions and do what’s right for you. After you acknowledge your feelings and talk it out, you will likely feel emotionally vulnerable or exhausted. Give yourself some self-care by doing something fun or find support from a loved one. Respect yourself in the decisions you make regarding the apology by recognizing what you need.
- If you can’t date someone after they cheated on you, break up with them out of respect for yourself.
- Do something nice for yourself, like a relaxing bath or a walk in your favorite park. This will show yourself some love and rid your mind of lingering feelings regarding the grudge