Grudge Match: Free Yourself By Letting Go Of Negative Feelings

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With the holidays right around the corner, a lot of feelings will begin to pop up. Old resentments and grudges might impede you from enjoying the end of the year. However, there are things you can do to overcome these feelings, and in order to grow, you must let go of your baggage so you can evolve. Grudges are often accompanied by a feeling of moral superiority known as the “satisfaction factor.” This means holding onto the anger and pain of the grudge makes you feel justified, which is why letting go sometimes feels impossible.

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New York City psychotherapist Sarah Saffian explained it this way to Pure Wow: “Holding onto a grudge is a form of self-protection because anger is a more powerful feeling than vulnerability and acknowledging that you’re hurt.” She also says letting go of a grudge can feel like you’re letting the person off the hook. This gives a grudge-holder the impression that letting go is bad, which couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re serious about ending a grudge, here are some tips to free you from your feelings.

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Start At The Beginning

What kicked off the grudge? Start there. Then explore your feelings during and immediately after the encounter. Attempt to pinpoint why you reacted so strongly that you still carry the grudge. Doing this may feel painful, but it’s okay. This process isn’t about blame. It’s about release.

This Is About You

As much as you want to point fingers, a grudge is about your inability to let go. To do this, you’ll need to practice self-love and compassion. Psychology Today says your feelings, both now and then, are valid and should be tended to with loving kindness and compassion. Your suffering matters, but it doesn’t have to be your identity. Shifting your attention from the grudge to the pain itself should allow you to let go.

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How To Achieve Closure

Michael Moore’s 2002 film Bowling For Columbine explores the Columbine High School mass shooting and how it changed the lives of everyone involved. There’s a part in the film where a survivor explains how she let go of her rage and resentment towards the shooters like this: “Forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free, then finding out the prisoner is you.”

If you’re still struggling to forgive, that’s okay. Accept that holding onto toxic feelings associated with a grudge is the first step to personal freedom. Next, you may want to consider writing a letter you won’t send to the person you’re holding the grudge against. Doing this will give you a chance to fully express yourself. Write everything out, addressing the person who wronged you and telling them what you think it will take to let go of this feeling. Then burn the letter and imagine the feelings associated with it disintegrating with the letter.

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Letting go of a grudge isn’t always black and white. If you do all these things and still feel the same, that’s okay. These things take time. Continue to focus on ways to better yourself. Eventually, without knowing how or why, the grudge will dissipate and so will its hold over you.

Have you ever held a grudge? What did it take for you to let go of it? Let us know in the comments!