“But she was so mean to me…AND she was wrong!” “But I need to teach him a lesson!” “But, but…AHHHHH!”
I know these thoughts have run through my head before as I’ve felt betrayed, hurt, or otherwise wronged, and I’ve seen many of my friends in similar positions. In fact, you’re quite lucky if you’ve never felt this way.
Oftentimes when we are hurt, we feel an urge to scream at people or sabotage them in order to retaliate and teach them why they were so horrible. However, usually we don’t. Instead of getting our anger out in an effective way by letting others know that they hurt us, we keep quiet. We let our anger fester, and that turns into a grudge. But bottling up your feelings, holding a grudge, and refusing to forgive, can hurt you and make you suffer more than the person you are angry with.
The mind and body are quite connected–and so while grudges may manipulate your mind, they also impact your physical health in negative ways. When we keep our feelings to ourselves, that causes stress on our body. Stress is detrimental to our health for an number of reasons including, increasing blood pressure, affecting sleep patterns, and sometimes even intense anxiety that can have severe consequences.
But why do we hold on to the anger?
Anger feels uncomfortable in the body. We don’t feel like our usual selves, we are on edge, and it can stress us out: so why do we feel the need to hold onto these feelings? Our “fight-or-flight” responses generally encourage us to fight when confronted or hurt.
Another factor seems to be pride: if we let things go, then we feel we have let ourselves willingly been attacked.
Yet the practice of holding onto frustrations and fighting to put people in their place(s) only wastes energy and gives the other person power over us, whether or not he/she is aware.
So how can we stop?
How do we allow ourselves to release our grudges in order to free ourselves and create a healthier lifestyle? Try releasing your bad energy initially–perhaps by punching a pillow, crying, screaming in an empty room, and etc. Then, once you’ve released that negative energy, set yourself towards a positive goal. You’ve given yourself the time to be angry and now you must talk to who wronged you and voice your feelings and then move on. It’s going to be difficult–forgiveness is never easy, but it is essential for you to live a happy and healthy life. Let it go and free yourself.