What a busy week it’s been. Keegan went on tour and comes back today. In the mean time, I grabbed lunch with Robbie at Atmalogy in Nashville (an awesome coffee shop mansion), caught up with Stephanie and Tika that night for peaches n cream Bushwackers, watched Clint open for DJ Icey and Baby Anne Saturday night with a slew of our close friends supporters and allies, enjoyed a drink at Blue Jeans followed by a pot-luck on Sunday and shared an authentic King Cake with Brittany and Justin on Monday.
Tuesday was spent at Jozoara’s with Erika as we caught up over coffee, and I had some time that night to see Jessica and Jazzy. Wednesday, I split a pitcher with Kooch and Jeff during happy hour, while Thursday night, I convinced Matt to join me for a reiki sharing get together at Center of Symmetry. We ended the night with his out of town friend at Canvas, my favorite gay bar. Then we had a lovely slumber party.
Friday I met Ryan and Brooke’s 4 month old son and afterwards spent the night with Brittany and Justin watching Girls, quite possibly the best show on HBO besides Vice. Yesterday, I visited Casi at Penny’s, then headed over to Jessie’s for a paint party. And the fun didn’t stop there, because Clint hosted a bonfire afterwards which drew about 15 friends or so. This is why I’m falling behind on my blog, but I refuse to give up!
Anyways……back on track.
Everyone at some point fosters resentment. Your professor didn’t give you the grade you hoped for, or maybe your best friend hooked up with your ex. Whatever the case may be, we’re wise enough to know how grudge only effects the beholder, much as Buddha noted, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”.
If you’re feeling stuck by the weight of a past disappointment, read ahead for tips to break free from your mind.
If something bothers you like a festering wound, spend time with paper and pen to determine what makes this grudge so defining. Were your feelings hurt? Had your expectations not met? One time, a client explained to me,
“My husband slept with my best friend. He deserted me in the middle of the night to meet with someone I thought I could trust. Now it seems like he loves her more than me. I don’t believe in divorce, but I can’t see myself ever looking at him or her the same ever again.”
With this instance, the physical betrayal lies in the sexual context of their relationship. The wife harbors resentment, because her husband slept with someone else. On an emotional level, the client was experiencing the stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression but had yet to reach acceptance at that time.
Consider your current situation, and jot down what you feel. You may feel nauseous, or experience insomnia. You could also feel bitter, irritated, or severely depressed. Once you realize why you’re hurt and what you’re feeling, closure tends to approach at a quicker rate.
To Leap or Not to Leap?
Once you’ve determined what’s wrong, ask yourself “What’s next”. You can choose to reach out or continue life as always. When it comes to personal relationships with friends, family and significant others, I encourage readers to take the first step and make a connection. If your life’s greatly enriched by this person’s presence, take a chance and see what happens.
A falling out isn’t the “be all, end all”. Disagreements happen, and we’re all human. If whomever you’re holding a grudge against decides to reach out to you, carefully weigh your options before an unwillingness to listen or communicate sinks in. If this could be your one chance to eradicate old feelings, why not hear them out?
Disclaimer: If you’re dealing with someone who has caused you physical harm, or threatened your life, do not proceed with making amends. This advice is meant for relationships which welcome positive change. You can let go of a grudge when someone has physically harmed you, but don’t bother with smoothing things over when someone has no respect for you.
Ditch the Ego
The willingness to extend an offer without any guarantees indicates your confidence won’t be shaken if you’re struck down. If we consistently perceived reality from the bitter “I don’t owe anyone shit” aspect (as I formerly thought to myself), would forgiveness ever see the light of day? Siding with the ego signifies the need to be correct, while relying on forgiveness clears space in the mind and strengthens connections.
You owe it to yourself to proceed with a healthy, enduring attitude. The key doesn’t lie in expectations, but hoping for the best and continuing to push towards a more vulnerable existence. Dismissing a grudge embodies a courageous lifestyle since no one knows what lies ahead.
On a personal note, I recently encountered someone who had made my life hell the last 6 months. Oddly enough, we wound up at the same venue in Nashville recently where he proceeded to conversate with me. I accepted his apology, and all is well. I recognized the courage it took for him to reach out, but if I had wallowed in the “I don’t owe him shit” philosophy, I would still be harboring a grudge and nothing would have changed. I learned that every falling out has the potential for reunification once the ego is pushed aside.
John O’Donohue pointed out how the ego is the false sense of self born out of fear and defensiveness. It’s easy to hold a grudge with anxiety lingering in the background of our minds. But Brene Brown’s steadfast declaration, “The past is just a story we tell ourselves” takes the cake. I can choose to remember the pain or I can remember each individual in the most positive light possible, which helps in the process of forgiveness.
Curve Your Reactions
To prevent the cycle from continuing, make a note for future reference what tends to set you off. Since you determined in step one what’s upsetting you, surely we can prevent this from happening again, right? Let’s consider a basic scenario that we all encounter on a regular basis: Bad drivers. The following example demonstrates how enlightenment happens with rigorous mental training and awareness.
Stage 1: The first time someone cuts you off, so you begin to yell, hitting the steering wheel, maybe even flip ’em the bird.
Stage 2: The second time you realize you’ve been hijacked by emotions but you still can’t help yourself. You recognize the need to calm down, but still continue to act out when someone cuts you off.
Stage 3: With the third instance, the initial obligation to react remains, but you don’t. You’re irritated but think to yourself, “Maybe this guy has an emergency”.
Stage 4: The reaction doesn’t exist and the thought of becoming angered no longer exists once you’re cut off the fourth time.
Now, here lies the same stages in psychology known as the 4 Stages of Competence:
Most of us remain stuck in Phase 2: We understand how our reactions cause harm but believe there’s no way out to expressing how we’re feeling. I encourage readers to consider their reactions to situations and how holding a grudge can prevent you from moving forward.
If you need further advice concerning grudges or would like to share what works for you, please feel free to submit your ideas below. In the mean time, check out Tool’s epic opening track on Lateralus called The Grudge.