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Holding Grudges – The Persistent State of Re...

Holding Grudges – The Persistent State of Resentment

Lee Aldrich MiddlesageHave you ever been profoundly mad at and avoided, or ceased speaking to a person because of a real or perceived wrong done to you? Are you holding on to the resentment toward that person in a need to be right? Could you have been part of the issue? If so, be aware that holding a grudge keeps you in a persistent state of resentment. The negative emotions of resentment keep the problem going on forever…or until you decide to deal with it.

Merriam-Webster defines a Grudge as:

  • unwilling to give or admit : give or allow reluctantly or resentfully <didn’t grudge the time>
  • a feeling of deep-seated resentment or ill will

The awful thing about holding a grudge is that the person who suffers the most is YOU. You feel the resentment, the anger, the hostility toward the target of your dislike. The mention of that persons name flames the anger or hurt associated with the unresolved issue, making you tense, uncomfortable and upset. The only remedy is to work out the issue or to forgive the person.

In the article from the Mayo Clinic titled “Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness”, states that forgiveness is:

“a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.”


SONY DSCThe article also gives some pretty compelling health reasons to forgive and let go of a grudge:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

Holding a grudge not only binds you negatively to that person, it can also affect your health.

Therese J. Borchard’s article in psychecentral.com, “8 Tips to Stop Holding a Grudge”, relates we first need to:

  1. Acknowledge the problem in order to solve it
  2. Share your feelings with the other person (yep, this can be really hard – but they may not even be aware!)
  3. Switch places in order to understand the other persons point of view
  4. Accept what is whether you get an apology or not
  5. Dont dwell on it – move on
  6. Use this as a learning experience – see the positive
  7. Let it go
  8. Forgive. This doesn’t mean forget, it may mean agreeing to disagree.

The questions is…how can you be happy if your emotions are all tied up in knots and you are harboring resentment toward another person? The other person may be walking around not aware of, or not giving a tinkers damn, that you are upset. The multitude of negative feelings keeps you stuck on an issue or event, which in turn, holds power and controls some aspect of your life.

Fixing what’s broken, exposing your feelings to a person who has hurt you, is a scary thing. Nobody wants to be belittled or brushed off, but sometimes in this life, you have to get past what’s stuck in your craw to move forward.

Do you want to be happy, or keep score? It’s Your choice…but we hope you choose happy.





  1. Great post post, Lee. I’d rather be happy than right. Happy, than constantly angry. Think of all that cortisol in your body. Can’t be healthy. And if your body and mind is focusing on where that rage and unforgiveness is directed, then how can you be totally there for anyone else, like kids, a love, friends? Time to do some journaling 🙂
    Carolyn Moore recently posted…A Sunday Diversion – Epically Awesome AwardsMy Profile

    • Lee Aldrich

      12 July

      Thank you, Carolyn! You are not kidding…it raises blood pressure, keeps anger and/or hurt simmering just below the surface and burrows its way into our subconscious. It is not worth trading happiness and joy for hurts that need to be worked out or forgiven.

  2. Ginger Kay

    12 July

    I choose to be happy. Usually that means forgiving, and overlooking the cause of the hurt, for the sake of sustaining the relationship. Sometimes it has meant walking away from a relationship when I (finally) realize that I have been working too hard to sustain a relationship that never deserved the effort I was putting into it.
    Ginger Kay recently posted…7 Reasons to Love Thrift ShopsMy Profile

    • Ginger Kay

      12 July

      I wasn’t clear: I forgive either way. Every once in a while, I just have to turn the other cheek and keep walking.
      Ginger Kay recently posted…7 Reasons to Love Thrift ShopsMy Profile

      • Lee Aldrich

        12 July

        It’s always good to forgive, but I sometimes see folks who always forgive as a way of avoiding conflict or dealing with the issue.
        I’ve found once you express what is bothering you with the person you have an issue with, you will either: 1 -feel better, work things out and forgive; 2 – feel better, not get the issue worked out and still forgive. Either way it comes down to forgiving!
        Thank you for your comments!

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