Most of us would like to believe we don’t hold grudges…

Yet at some point, the truth is we’ve all held a grudge, or had someone hold a grudge against us.

It’s easy to not even realize when we are holding one. We convince ourselves that we have forgiven that person for hurting or disappointing us, yet deep down inside, we know something is wrong. As human beings, we are forgiving by nature, and understand rationally that nothing good ever comes out of letting our anger and resentment linger. Yet for some reason, we just can’t seem to let it go.

Slowly, we start to notice how we are avoiding that friend, co-worker, or even loved one – dodging their phone calls or deliberately ignoring their emails.

Perhaps we even begin to speak ill of them to others, overwhelmed by bottled-up feelings of hurt and resentment, perhaps even anger. Before you know it, we are left with the weight of a heavy grudge.

Let’s face it – it’s nearly impossible to go through life without experiencing hurt feelings or disappointment in someone, or to have someone feel disappointed in you, And that’s okay!

We’re not perfect…

It’s even okay to feel angry. Yet sometimes, we hold onto the pain or hurt for a just a bit too long. In the moment, it feels necessary to hold onto that sense of being wronged; it’s how we protect ourselves. In the end, we just leave ourselves and the other person feeling disempowered and confused.

So I wonder… is it actually worth letting our negative feelings slowly eat us up inside, impacting both our own health and well being, and perhaps ruining a once valuable relationship?

What would happen if we just dealt with the grudge rather than holding onto those miserable feelings inside?

Pick up the phone, set up a coffee date with whoever you have been avoiding, and honestly share your experience of what happened, how it hurt you, and ask them to forgive you for not coming to them sooner.

Then forgive yourself.

In the end, at the root of every grudge big or small, is an opportunity for forgiveness.

Your willingness to forgive doesn’t mean the other person is right, or got away with anything. It doesn’t even mean you need to keep them in your lives. It simply means you are choosing not to allow past hurts and disappointments define you. Instead, you are choosing to let yourself and them off the hook, in order to move forward with the life you deserve.