“Forgiveness is the economy of the heart . . . forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.”
Who knew there is a National Kiss and Make Up Day? Well there is, and it is today! What a beautiful opportunity for me to write about letting go of grudges and a perfect day to reflect on a grudge we might be holding and then make a decision to let it go. To me, the word “grudge” itself sounds a little harsh. It is a feeling of resentment toward another person, sometimes even someone we care about. A grudge develops because we feel deeply hurt by something that the person said or did. We feel wronged, so whenever we think about the situation, we can feel our blood “boil” and our heart race and begin feeling angry all over again—as if it were happening to us right in the moment.
Imagine what this grudge is doing to your mind, health, and the living of your everyday life? How much energy is it taking away from your relationships? How happy can we be with an underlying grudge that lays in waiting for the next time to cause us suffering? You know, when we carry a grudge, we are not hurting or punishing the other person; we are causing ourselves great pain. I believe we are wasting valuable moments of our lives, sacrificing the pure potential we have within to live our greatest life in each moment.
I have had plenty of grudges in my life, and I use the energy behind the feelings to heal from the grudge. We can channel this intense energy by sending loving thoughts to heal the situation and set the intention to let go of our angry feelings. Yes, this is Kiss and Make Up Day, but that doesn’t mean we simply release the grudge by forgetting the hurt (especially if it is something that causes us great harm) and just kiss and make up with the person as if nothing had happened. Rather, letting go of the angry feelings means we heal ourselves. We kiss and make up with ourselves—and sometimes, when appropriate, with the other person. We release this grudge to release ourselves from the prison we are living in.
Here is a quote I love, which I have seen repeated various ways: “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” This is so true! We are the ones suffering from our resentment, and we may be foolishly thinking we are getting back at the other person. Have you ever said, “Well, I’ll show her/him”? When we say something like this, we are only getting back at ourselves.
Here is how I practice letting a grudge go, releasing myself from the prison of suffering:
- I visualize the person or situation associated with the grudge. I say to myself, “I am ready to let this grudge go. I am ready to be free of the pain and the emotional charge attached to this.” Now, I feel the anger and resentment. I take myself back there in my mind, and I feel the pain with the intention of letting it go.
- Next, I take out a notebook that I use especially for this purpose, and write the person’s name or the situation at the top. Then I begin writing my Sacred Mantra over and over again until I fill the whole page. If the situation starts to replay in my mind, I simply say to myself, “I know all that I need to know. I have felt all that I need to feel. Thank you, mind, but I am now letting this go.”
It is the job of the mind to want to replay things, and so, if you try this exercise, you really have to set the intention to let it go so that you remain strong and keep writing your mantra. If you start to cry, that’s okay. It is actually good; you are beginning the release. Crying is cathartic; thinking is not. At the end of this mantra writing session, you may start to feel some relief from the anger, a feeling of calm. This doesn’t mean the charge is gone. It means you have started the healing process; you have started to uproot this grudge from deep within your heart.
- After I have filled up the page, I close the notebook and close my eyes. I repeat my Sacred Mantra silently with the loving intention that there will be peace in this situation. I am connecting with the place deep inside that is healthy, whole, peaceful, forgiving, and loving.
When I do this exercise, I feel the charge associated with the person start to fall away. In the case of very upsetting feelings or a serious wrong that was done, this may take more than just one page and more than one day. I had a very serious, hurtful situation happen to me many years ago, and I wrote my Sacred Mantra daily for six years with the intention to become free of the hold this resentment, this grudge, had over me. One day as I was writing my mantra for this person, I realized I felt no anger whatsoever. I was wishing this person well from afar. Later that week, I drove past the place where the violation took place, and I felt no charge. It was just a place.
Releasing a very strong charge, hurt, or violation may take time, but be patient and keep believing in your ability to find peace, and one day you will be free. Remember these words from St. Teresa of Avila: “Patience attains all things.”
If there is someone you are holding a grudge against, and this sounds like a practice worth trying, and you have not heard of a Sacred Mantra, check it out here. I have been using this beautiful tool in my practice for almost twenty years; it’s truly transformational.
I look forward to hearing from you as you begin to set yourself free.