The Downside of Holding Grudges and How to Let Them Go

The Downside of Holding Grudges and How to Let Them Go

Better Life

Holding grudges and hatred for others is clearly not healthy for anyone. 

The Buddha said, Anger, with its poisoned source and fevered climax, is murderously sweet. 

However, he then appropriately referred to the significant downside of staying angry:

  Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. 

These fascinating and complex images describe an emotion that carries great pain, hurt but sometimes pleasure. With such complexities, and given such overwhelmingly strong emotions and related conditioned responses, how do we overcome these barriers to heal and move on knowing that anger is not good for us? The most effective way is to turn within because we have available to us an infinite supply of love and compassion to draw upon to help resolve issues that are usually sourced and projected outwards from our own internal conflicts. Luckily, we have the light of awareness and forgiveness, powered by love, available to us to actively resolve these issues. While going through this process of healing, it is advisable to remain compassionate toward our own emotions and experiences so that we do not sit in judgment of ourselves. However, we should not ignore our own pain in a rush to forgive and resolve these conflicts.

We need to be balanced because one of the biggest causes of disease is when people are trying to be too nice to others without getting what they need for themselves. The famous Dr. Bernie Siegel wrote about this over and over again in his books, including Love, Medicine, and Miracles, which is my favorite one.

Meditation can help you heal

In meditation, which can be defined as doing our spiritual work, we discover that we have a level of consciousness available to us that can be referred to as our Higher Self. This consciousness level is based upon love and is actually what makes up who we truly are – love-based beings. Unfortunately, our current consciousness level is dominated by an illusory sense of self – our ego-minds, which are based upon fear. Basically, our ongoing hatred and grudges are generated and supported by our ego-minds, which see others as separate from ourselves. Consequently, we feel the need to be protective and fearful of what others might say or do to us. This highly defensive posture produces a mental attitude that supports conflict, suspicion, and misunderstandings.

During our meditative practice, we quiet our ego-minds and allow our Higher Self to dominate our awareness. Once we are in our Higher Self, rising above our ego-minds, our perspective on reality shifts from a fear-based one to a love-based, allowing us to heal and resolve our personal grudges. 

The benefit of letting go

The great thing about letting go of our hatred is that we remove their burden and start to feel the lightness of being while strengthening our connections with the people around us.

If we become conscious that we are all one at the deepest level, we can reconnect through love with others and experience peace. Our deep mutual connections are so much more substantial than our disputes with people in our lives. Reconnecting with this reality helps ground us so that we can put our anger into a better perspective. The ego-mind, which is the false sense of self our collective consciousness has adopted, is our dilemma’s main source. The ego-mind has been dominating our culture for way too long, clouding our awareness that love forms the foundation of how we could be living our lives. Once our communities become more heart-centered, we can start a new trend by letting people around us know how much we love them. 

I was recently on a conference call with a group called Happy U, led by Lionel Ketchian, its founder when a gentleman told his story about how he committed to telling his wife a new reason why he loved her every day for one whole year. There were days that he thought he couldn’t do it, but he pulled it off. He said it did wonders for their relationship. Could you imagine if we all did that? How much would that change our world? There is such magic that can be created when you allow yourself to become filled with love and not allow yourself to be dominated by fear leading to grudges and hatred.

Let’s take full advantage of this present moment and do a brief meditation to allow us to let go of the anger that we have for someone close to us. We can do this meditation with our eyes open or closed:

Take three gentle breaths

Now think of someone you have a significant conflict with and the key reasons why you have a deep hatred for this person and/or what this person has done. Now take the hatred that you feel inside of you and mentally move it out about a foot in front of you. Now breathe five gentle breaths into and out of this anger.

A good way to think about this is to imagine this sense of anger is breathing in and out. Let it breathe in loving energy into this feeling of anger, in the form of golden light, and as it breathes out, feel the negative energy begin to dissipate. Now take another three gentle breaths as you become aware of the weakening of this negative energy. Great! Good work!!