Here’s the thing about holding grudges. The person holding the grudge is much more negatively affected than the person whose actions or words caused the grudge-holding. You know it’s true. How many times a day/week/month/year do you spend mental energy on that grudge? A long-term grudge can become so entrenched that it can impact your daily outlook, your decisions, and even your health, both mental and physical. And the sad thing I’ve discovered from my own personal experience holding too many grudges is that many grudges are based upon faulty assumptions about the other person’s motives or feelings, or about the other person’s ability to be the person you think you deserve them to be.
But even when grudges exist for valid reasons, they can do more harm than good for the grudge holder. Think about a grudge you hold against someone. If it’s for something that happened in the past, even long ago, it’s time to get over it. Life is too short. Your mental and physical health is too important. And chances are the person you’re angry at is not going to change who they are at this point, nor can they change what they did or said. They could apologize, but they haven’t. Or maybe they have, but you haven’t been willing to accept it. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to let go of your grudge. Make the conscious choice to forgive whoever has caused you such pain. Because, with the exception of truly evil people, i.e. sociopaths, most people have their own emotional pain or limitations that we don’t eve know about and that they may not be able to verbalize. That doesn’t mean you have to be close to the person, but forgive them for your own benefit and move on. Take back the emotional control you’d given up. It’s a powerful thing, letting go of a grudge.
And if you’re having trouble forgiving the person, use gratitude as your guide. Just think of those who’ve had it worse. Think of the ultimate “worse.” You could be one of these people. You could be dead. But you’re not. So you have the power to live a positive life free of grudges. If this college student can become enlightened enough to realize how destructive holding grudges is, so can you.
In case you need a blueprint, here’s a good article showing four steps to letting go of a grudge.