“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” ― Anne Lamott
I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing. -Buddy Hackett
I think I may have come up with a great get-rich-quick scheme.
If I had a dollar (inflation you know) for every best-selling book that made its way to the top by way of telling a story of grudges, then I’d be a very rich woman, wouldn’t I now?
I just returned some books to the library, and got to thinking that most good stories are about the fixes that we get into when it comes to grudges and how our lives are affected as we avoid, or don’t avoid these situation.
For example, I just finished reading The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. Here’s a quick description of the story line from goodreads.com :
A charming and moving novel about female friendship and the experiences that knit us together-even when we least expect it. Walker and Daughter is Georgia Walker’s little yarn shop, tucked into a quiet storefront on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The Friday Night Knitting Club was started by some of Georgia’s regulars, who gather once a week to work on their latest projects and to chat-and occasionally clash-over their stories of love, life, and everything in between.
Basically, the deeper the grudge load, the more miserable each woman is in this story. As the change from strangers to friends though, they find themselves able to let go of what is ailing them, and each of their lives becomes more fulfilling.
So I tell you to ask for things in prayer. And if you believe that you have received those things, then they will be yours. When you are praying, and you remember that you are angry with another person about something, then forgive that person. Forgive them so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.”
So, how can we let go of a grudge? Here is a list of to-do’s from writer Renita Williams:
1. Acknowledge the problem
2. Share your feelings.
3. Switch places (with the other person)
4. Accept what is.
5. Don’t dwell on it.
6. Take the positive.
7. Let it go.
Buuuuuut, on the other hand, maybe there are healthy ways to keep ourselves protected from those who may be interested in taking us down with their misery.
“Some wounds run too deep for the healing.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I read an article that said just as much, that holding a healthy grudge may be appropriate as long as we aren’t talking toxic anger. Here is what Martha Beck has to say on the subject:
Consider the “three strike” rule: If you not only have a bad experience with a person but also hear worrisome reports about that person from three totally unrelated sources, you need to carry a protective grudge that says, “I don’t quite trust you.”
I’ve learned through creepy experience that when I start inexplicably doubting myself around a specific person, it’s time to hold a good constructive grudge.
If someone in your life is genuinely monstrous part of the time—even once—be leery all the time. Wear your grudge armor. It could prevent catastrophe.
So, like usual, it’s a matter of balance and not too much, not too little.