There is only one time when I held a grudge for more than a few days, and I held it for years. More than ten years actually.
When I was newly married we lived in Samoa near my husband’s family and my mother-in-law did something I thought unthinkable. Something I thought was so bad, so rude, and so absolutely wrong that I felt it was my duty to hold it against her.
At that time, Samoa had a fairly primitive postal system. To be sure to get your mail, it was best to collect it from the post office.
My mother-in-law not only collected my mail, but she opened it, read it, and kept it for herself. She kept letters from my mother, letters from friends so that I lost contact with them, my New Zealand citizenship certificate, and a cheque with my tax refund.
I never did get the tax refund but I was particularly upset about the citizenship certificate. The one I have now says “replacement” in big letters and is not at all fancy. I was so mad, I thought it would be wrong for me to let it go.
I came from a culture that wouldn’t dream of opening someone’s mail, or touching someone elses “stuff”, or entering their home uninvited. She came from a culture where you not only walked into a home uninvited, but you took what you wanted. You could looked into cupboards and even into the cooking pots and help yourself.
Who do you think suffered most from my bad feelings? Me of course.
Once I forgave her I stopped having that cramping, limiting, unhappy feeling when I saw her. I stopped feeling awkward around her and started relaxing.
At first I was just acting extra friendly, but eventually I really was friendly and happy to accept her for who she was and is. It was essential to my happiness for me to do this.
Do you have anything that makes you mad? Is it worth keeping it? Can you let it go? Can you pretend to let it go until it does go?
Why not give it a try? Your happiness depends on it.
M is for minimize mad moods and make amends