Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Grudge

To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.

William Walton


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."




orangedoublezero said...

Hi Beth....

Yes, I remember our chat about that a while back.  I believe the phrase I used was "black cauldron of bitterness boiling not so subtly beneath the surface."  We've all known people like that in our lives.  It's really sad to see people like that, too.  My friend Bruce has a very simple but what I think is a very effective saying -- "life is short."  Indeed it is -- life is short, too short, to spend wasting time on being bitter about whatever unpleasant things have happened to you in your life.  Bruce absolutely makes the best of his life, and he is a fun person to be around because of his attitude  And it IS all in your attitude.  Life is not always going to be rosy and happy and fun, there are times when it will be tough and challenging.  One of the most important things I learned from my father, at the lowest time in my life, was when he said the following to me:  "You can either be upset, mad, angry or bitter about the situation, or you can remember the good times, and go on and live your life."  I've remembered those words for over 21 years now, and he was 100% right.

Life is too short.

orangedoublezero said...

(part two of previous comment)

I saw a customer at work yesterday who came in in a wheelchair, and he had both legs amputated.  I looked at him, and my first thought thought was, "wow, poor guy, it must be tough to not have your legs."  Then I thought, "I am so thankful for my good health."  I observed him as he made his way through the line, and he seemed like a very upbeat and positive person.  He was chatting with others in line around him, and he was a pleasant person to serve from what I could tell.  (I did not wait on him.)  Here was a guy who obviously had a serious problem, and one that affected the rest of his life, but he certainly didn't appear to let it get him down.  I like that.  I like being around people who are like that, too.  Life is too short to be around what I refer to as "negative energy."  There are too many wonderful things to see and do and be a part of, if you choose.  I don't have time or the energy to spend being bitter.

Life IS too short.  Make the most of it.

Wow, I really got going on that, didn't I?  Haha!  I mean every word of it, though.  It's how I always try to live my life

luvrte66 said...

Thanks for the comments, Shane, and you can comment any ol' time you like! I liked what you wrote, and I agree that it's the only way to live life. Love ya! Oh, and thanks for remembering your great phrase about the "black cauldron of bitterness"! I love that!


luvrte66 said...

I had a nice note via MySpace from my friend Jim at work that I thought I would share (miss you, too, Jimi):

hey, I had to write and tease you that your most recent blog about the grudge sounds a little "4 Agreements-ey" Ha! But you are so right. It's amazing how someone who has been at the wrong end of a raw deal will let it fester and "get them" over and over again. We've all been there, but once you understand you're doing it to yourself, it makes you feel a little silly, doesn't it? Like you said, while you're stewing in your venom, the object of your ill feelings has already moved on. By continuing to relive it over and over solves nothing. But it's all a process of growing up and learning. Some people, however, just don't get it.
miss you,

bhbner2him said...

Dropping by from Friday Blogplugs.  It's not new's actually Biblical.  Grudges, unforgiveness, grow inside us like a cancer.  They rob and steal joy from lives, always hurting the one who carries it far more than the one they have the grudge against.  Great post!  - Barbara

luvrte66 said...

Thanks for the comment, and thanks for reading, Barbara!


abaleman666 said...

i am a grudge holder.  je me souviens.  its not that i cant let go, but to me letting go means forgiving, forgetting or both.  and i am not wired to do either by my maker or my experiences.  keep blogging!