The Truth About Grudges
Most of us have had our feelings hurt at some point in our lives. Perhaps our partner said something to us that pushed one of our buttons or a parent treated us in a way that validated our “I’m not good enough” mantra that runs in the background of our thinking life. No matter what happened, we probably reacted with anger or resentment, which is fine if we use that to express ourselves in a non-harmful way and then clear the air. When we clear the air, we move forward with the issue resolved. The problem is we don’t always take the opportunity to clear the air and move forward. We often leave things unresolved with the anger and resentment festering like a badly infected wound. We just can’t seem to let go of some things. These are grudges and they put a damper on our lives in general, but they really show themselves during the holidays robbing us of true holiday cheer. But, this is the perfect time of year to give ourselves a gift and let go of our grudges.
The basis of a grudge are our own beliefs of inadequacy. Most of believe we are inadequate in some way. This leads to insecurity and feeling vulnerable. When someone says something to us that pokes at those insecurities and vulnerabilities, we react. By holding on to the reaction which typically shows up as anger, we are continuing to react to an event that:
- Is over and had been for a long time and
- Didn’t really have anything to do with us.
Most of us are aware that we hold onto things that are over and that this causes us pain and difficulty, but we hold onto the grudges anyway. Doing this is disempowering and exhausting, especially if those grudges turn to revenge? So why do we hold grudges? The simple answer is, habit. We have been taught this is the way to handle comments and situations that feel like we are being insulted or that we have been wronged. But, the truth is we are just reacting to the beliefs we have about ourselves– that we are inadequate. No one is insulting anyone else. No one is being mean to anyone else. The part of us that believes we are not good enough, that we are inadequate – the part inside of us that constantly feels threated – is the one reacting to anything that feels threatening outside of us.
We can use the reaction to help us see what we believe about ourselves and then correct that. Beliefs are not truths. There is nothing wrong with any one of us. Knowing the truth corrects the training.
Impact on Health
There is a direct correlation between anger and heart health. While it is not something our regular doctors routinely discuss with us, studies are beginning to show what the ancients and the not-so-ancients like Louise Hay, Dr. Lissa Rankin and Dr. Bruce Lipton have always known: anger hurts our heart.
Most of us don’t think about what is happening to us biologically when we get angry from grudges or anything else that might set us off. But, understanding the process that occurs in our body gives us the power of awareness. Awareness leads to healing. When we get angry, a rush of adrenaline and cortisol enters our bloodstream. This causes a spike in blood pressure, blood sugar and, of course, heart rate. This means our heart has to work harder when we get angry – not a healthy thing if you are someone who gets angry easily. In fact, intense, frequent anger can cause long-term damage to the heart. The anger from grudges just adds to this unhealthy heart situation because each time we relive the event we act as if it is happening right now. The brain doesn’t know the difference between actual events and thought-created events so chemicals that can harm the heart are released when we get angry just thinking about the reasons for our grudge.
According to research published in the European Heart Journal in February 2015, when people who are already at risk for heart disease have angry outbursts, the risk of a heart attack dramatically increases for two hours following that outburst. Of course, it is important to express hurt feelings and anger in a healthy way. I recommend talking to the person and working things out without getting into a blood-boiling screaming match. This alternative practice means better heart health and more letting go of the pain and suffering of grudges.
It is also important to remember the truth about the origin of grudges. Truth is the ultimate healer. When we remember that we are reacting to our own belief of inadequacy, we can stop blaming others and start focusing on healing. Grudges and blaming are two tools the mind uses to trick us into thinking other people cause us pain and suffering. That is a lie. It is our own beliefs about ourselves that cause our pain and suffering. Focusing more on the truth than we do on the lie is how we heal. The holidays are a time for connection and renewal. Let’s reconnect with our divine truth and renew our health for the upcoming new year.
The Greatest Gift of All
This is the season of gift giving. From beautiful, love-infused hand-made scarves to the latest and greatest electronic gadgets, we like to give others just the right gift. Seeing the look on the faces of little ones (and big ones) as they open their gifts with surprise, smiles and happy tears brings us so much joy and happiness. Spending time together seals the deal for us during this special time laden with wishes for a merry and bright season. But, what if we did something different this year? What if we gave ourselves a gift? What if we did something that gave us the gift of peace, love and better health? We can do that and one way is to simply drop all grudges- to really let them go.
How do we drop grudges? Just let go. There is no need to hold onto any of them. They are outdated events that we keep resurrecting each time we hear the name of the person we think did us wrong. We do have a choice. We can continue to suffer at the hands of our own mind, the one who reacted in the first place, or we can drop the grudge and reconnect with the people we have held hostage for no reason for so long. We can let them and us off the hook once and for all.
The threatened part of us can always find reasons to continue to feel threatened. We have to use the power of love within us to stop following old habits. We must see love more than we see anger- and not just in others, but also in ourselves. Haven’t we held onto our grudges long enough? Haven’t we suffered enough? The answer is most likely a resounding YES! So, let’s give ourselves the greatest gift of all – love. Let go, make amends, reconnect and have a healthy, merry and bright holiday season. This is a gift that will keep on giving for years to come.