I have seen people fiercely develop utter hate and hold grudges against actors simply because of roles they play in movie – Nollywood movies precisely. Some stretch the hate even further and arrest and quit watching movies of actors they ‘dislike’. I almost concluded that only Nigerians do that until a south-African friend on twitter confirmed South Africans aren’t less guilty. I’m forced to imagine that if grudge was a stick people would break TV screens with it.
Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your music skills, your favourite team lost disgracefully, your colleague disrupted a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave anyone with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance. People who hold grudges are often in a state of mental and emotional distress. So much energy is focused on negative and spiteful feelings that it overtakes the relationship altogether. What ends up generally happening is, the grudge-holders focus so intensely on negativity that it disables their ability to let go of the situation. This causes a vicious cycle: negativity causes more anger, and more anger causes more negativity.
Bitterness is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
– Malachy McCourt
Grudges hurt relationships of all kinds. They hurt mother/child relationships, spouse/spouse relationships, brother/brother or sister relationships…any kind of relationship. They make enemies out of close friends and strangers out of family members. Whether it’s a misunderstanding, a miscommunication, a presumption, an assumption, a traumatic event, an offense made to one or both parties involved, holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head.
Forgiveness naturally comes in handy here because by merely embracing forgiveness, you also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t justify the wrong. You can forgive without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings peace and that helps you go on with life. More exciting is, when you forgive, there are fewer symptoms of depression, healthier relationships, lower blood pressure and even higher self-esteem.
The crazy thing about holding a grudge is the fact that there are no winners when it’s held. Everyone involved loses – completely. Truth is, the heaviest thing to carry is a grudge.