My wife and I were preparing to attend my 40th high school reunion when she commented she had not had time to trim her long hair. I thought to myself, “How hard is it to trim hair?” I confidently volunteered for the task. She only wanted an inch trimmed off the very tips. I trimmed closer to 6 inches which was met with a gasp and tears.
Life is too short for lots of things. For me it is too short to live in a town where it takes longer than 15 minutes to get from one side of it to another. Life is too short to argue with my wife about what was “really” said or done or what she “really” meant. But it is definitely too short to hold grudges.
Even saying the word “grudge” comes from the back of your throat like you are wanting to cough up a fur ball. It is a growl of sorts that can consume the soul.
We say we “hold a grudge” or someone else is “holding a grudge.” It is sometimes worn like a badge of honor or held close like something precious… which a grudge is neither.
Grudges are developed when we believe someone has violated our trust. They have not treated us with honor or respect, thus deeming the violator untrustworthy, unreliable, or undependable. Cheating, lying, breaking promises are just a few of the more common ways the violation will occur. I have also seen grudges develop because of ignoring, avoiding or neglect.
Whatever the origins, when I feel a violation has occurred, I choose what to do with that violation. It is sad when some choose to hold the violater responsible for the act months and years after the harm has been done. Communication cut off; the relationship forever damaged with no attempt to repair. It seems like a smart and great idea at the time, much like the 1980 Chevy Citation I bought when it was new. Soon the flaws in the design showed up and I was left with a car that stalled each time it went over a speed bump.
Regardless the reason for holding a grudge, in the end, it is a poor reason. I might even think it is a way to protect me from getting hurt again or a way of forever punishing the violator. The reality is that the harm really occurs most to the one holding the grudge. Attitude affects health. Holding a grudge and sustaining a level of bitterness toward a person is a significant cause of a myriad of health problems that deal with digestion and heart. “I’ll show you! I’ll hold in my resentment toward you for so long I’ll develop acid reflux. I’ll remember what you did to me each time I eat. There, take that!!”
One thing to always consider when it comes to holding a grudge is ” What would it be like if everyone you offended or hurt decided to hold a grudge against you?” Don’t run over that last statement too quickly. It is only until we come face to face with the reality that we have hurt others just as deeply as we feel offended, that we will soften our hardened stance and consider letting go of the grudge. Forgive so that you also can be forgiven.
After releasing the grudge, seek to reconcile when you can feel safe. Trust might not be restored and it may be necessary to keep the offender at a safe distance, especially if they have a pair of scissors moving toward your long hair. But at least your heart rate and blood pressure will likely improve. More importantly, your heart will be freed from carrying something that is not meant to be lugged around. In the end, life is too short to hold grudges. Let it go.