People hurt us. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, you are bound to run into someone somewhere who is going to wound you deeply.
Some years back, there was a group of people who caused great hurt to our family. We felt that they handled a disagreement in an insensitive and destructive way, causing pain in our family. Over the years, we have not had to come in contact with any of the three or four families involved. But recently, one of the women from this group took a position in which I had to interact with her every so often. I didn’t realize until that moment when I first had to connect with her just how hurt I still was over the incident. I soon realized that I was holding a grudge against her and everyone else associated with that incident so long ago.
A kind of darkness of soul took over me when I had to talk to her. I felt sick inside. It was a struggle to be civil and cordial to her. I had a hard time looking at her face. Although over a decade had passed since the incident, I hadn’t forgiven her yet. It became necessary to admit to myself that I was holding a grudge.
Grudges are destructive. They can be destructive to the target of your grudge. They are definitely destructive to you. It is never a good environment for your mindset to reside. It’s dark in its presence and clouds all the good in your life with negativity.
It is also destructive to your health. It can cause anxiety disorders, headaches and migraines, strokes and heart issues, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, and a compromised immune system to name a few.
Forgiveness is the solution. But for many of us, it is hard to forgive what we perceive is an injustice. We like to feel that we are in control. When there is an injustice done toward us, that feeling is challenged.
Forgiveness does more for the forgiver than the forgiven. If you are on a path of self-actualization, not being able to forgive is a barrier that will limit your growth.
Try reframing the situation. Look at it as a life event that is there to teach you something.
In his book, Radical Forgiveness, Colin Tipping sets out his steps to forgiveness. They are:
- Tell your story – explain how you were victimized;
- Feel the feelings – the feelings you have are valid – they need expression;
- Collapse the story – take away interpretations, judgments and expectations – these only add to your suffering;
- Reframe the story – be open to the possibility that the incident happened in order to enlighten something that requires your attention – that it is there to bring growth;
- Integrate the new story – let your new story become part of you.
I use this method in my own life, but I found that I had not applied it to the incident I described above. When I did, the transformation was amazing. And I identified a trait within myself that I needed to work on.
You, too, can turn the misery of a grudge into a personal triumph, as well as eliminate the negativity and possible health concerns it brings with it. It’s up to you.
Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson