One of my big personal flaws is the tendency to hold grudges. This is something that was ingrained as a child due to many reasons. For nearly as long, I’ve known intellectually that holding grudges is unhealthy and can keep a person from fully living life. So, forming grudges, becoming aware of them, and letting go of them have been lifelong struggles. These are reasons I’m addressing the subject of grudges again. (I last posted about grudges on December 27th.)
Early on, I’ve understood how grudges and resentments help perpetuate feelings of victim-hood. Grudges tend to cloud over my otherwise sunny, joyful personality. They obscure the love that is otherwise present.
I’ve come to understand that while I hold grudges, I can honestly say that I don’t hate anyone. Hate is a nasty poison. I avoid consuming poison out of a desire to live. Certainly grudges are the ingredients of hatred, but I monitor my grudges so they don’t spread. This is how I avoid becoming the proverbial mad scientist.
There are so many people who resent the actions of others and hold onto massive grudges. These grudges mentally act in very destructive ways. They influence moods, and nurture the desire to harm and seek revenge. Grudges and resentments fuel family feuds and oftentimes international wars.
One of the most innocuous results of holding grudges is that nursing grudges can lead to people becoming moralistic. They like to imagine themselves as righteous and morally correct. They expend a lot of mental energy doing so. The moralists suffer much darkness of the soul yet believe they are spreading light. Moralists are good at breeding moralism in others. I have to be careful when writing about moralism, because some of my worst grudges have involved moralists who have pointed their fingers at me.
Thankfully, it always comes back to being mindful about resentful thoughts and grudges. I feel the negative tug at their peaks but eventually I become tired of them and realize the harm they’re causing. I’m one of those people who forgives and then has to forgive again, just to make sure the forgiveness is sincere. Just as it is wise to forgive others, it is also wise to re-forgive others from time to time. This should be taught by clerics and philosophers.
It’s mind-boggling how much psychological energy is required to hold grudges. As I get older, I have less of that energy to waste. When I feel an old grudge reemerge in the mind, I actually feel the physical draining of life-force. That sensation is somewhat frightening. I posit that holding grudges can lead to premature death. By working through the process of letting go of resentments and grudges, I may be lengthening my lifespan. Anyway, life is much too short to waste life-force on negativity.
There was a serious process of adapting to the attitudes of family and friends after I became a radio personality. This was more difficult than anticipated. I witnessed big changes in the way some of them looked at me as compared to previously. Most of them retained their supportive attitudes towards me. On the other hand, there was a minority who fed their grudges and displayed envy. It was a running battle to avoid holding grudges against people who gossiped about me. Being aware of those attitudes informed me of the fickle nature of humanity.
Despite much introspection about grudges, it’s still easy to focus upon memories that pop up about past adversaries. I remember how horribly they bullied me. I hope they grew up and got over their bullying personalities. It would be wonderful to receive apologies from them. It’s likely those apologies will be forever withheld. Then I know it’s time to re-forgive them.