To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.
I think we've all known people that can carry a grudge for years, and never find a way to let it go. This is such an alien concept to me. We've all been hurt in our lives, and we've all had to deal with adversity. How a person reacts to such hurt and adversity tells me a lot about them.
I've had my share of breakups, and I've had my share of fallings-out with friends. Sometimes it got pretty ugly. I remember one person going around the town we lived in and telling anyone and everyone all the ugly things they could think of to tell about me, all of which were untrue. It really bothered me for a while, but my family gave me some great advice: "Your real friends will know the truth. If they believe what is being said, they aren't people you want to have as friends." They were exactly right. The talk died down, and I moved on. (And I didn't lose any friends, either!)
After my divorce, my ex-husband said some pretty mean things to me. I realized that he was doing his best to hurt me the way I hurt him when I asked for a divorce, so I took it for what it was, and I moved on.
I've had friendships that ended because of comments that were made, or things that were done. While I regret some of those losses, I didn't dwell on it, and I moved on.
Over the years, I've found that it just takes too much energy to maintain and hold a grudge. I really can't understand what fuels that sort of energy in some people. And I have to wonder at the level of contentment and satisfaction that you can achieve when you are so consumed by your feelings of being wronged. Shane and I were writing about it, and he had a great phrase which I wish I could recall--something about a black hole of bitterness. (If you remember it, Shane, please comment!) I believe I wrote something to him about a churning mass of acidic goo. Whatever colorful phrase you come up with, it can't be healthy in any way, shape, or form. At the risk of sounding way too New Age-y, it's very negative energy, and when you hold a grudge, the person that gets hurt the most is you. Don't let something that happened years ago continue to affect your life, color your world, and steal your happiness. We can't always forgive things, and maybe we can't even forget them, but it's up to us whether we let it rule our lives, or we simply...let it go.
I think this quote from Buddy Hackett--a sage if there ever was one--sums it up very well: "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."