Revenge, holding a grudge, not forgiving and hating others over past actions leads to terrible consequences, both personally and socially. Even if, the grudge or anger against an individual is justified, holding these types of feelings can still be negative. It is important to learn how to properly let go of somethings and use proper channels to deal with others. Anger Management can help individuals learn to let go and diffuse hate and misgivings about others.
There are somethings one cannot forget. There are somethings that are petty as well, but whether small or large, legitimate or illegitimate or hate or revenge, one will suffer personally when one allows anger and hate to ferment overtime. Here are a few things to consider.
First, what is the nature of the offense against oneself. Was the offense of a criminal nature or a minor nature?
Additionally, what role did one pay in the offense? Analyzing oneself is important. Was it due to one’s own selfishness or envy?
Third, what is one’s philosophical life view? Is it an “eye for an eye” or “turn the other cheek”? Is there middle ground? Can one alter a life philosophy that is causing hatred and discord in one’s life?
Fourth, how can one channel the anger? Can one find justice through appropriate legal action? If it is not of a criminal nature, how can one channel anger? Can one let it go after so many years to find peace? Can one forgive but not forget? Forgiveness sometimes is more beneficial for oneself, since it removes the poison caused by the other person. The healing permits the person to find peace and also better physical health.
Fifth, can one utilize anger management, meditation and other calming strategies to help one find inner peace? Sometimes individuals need counseling to let go.
These are important things to consider when dealing with grudges. Overall, most individuals deal with minor grudges throughout life and in turn these minor grudges into larger issues that not only make social situations uncomfortable but also overtime damage physical health. When one is so pre-occupied with negative occurrences with others, it puts one’s body in a state of tension and fight or flight. The body produces cortisol and epinephrine during high stress that raises heart rate, constricts blood vessels and muscles and prepares the body for action. If one holds a grudge and anger constantly, then these acute reactions become constant. Constant exposure overtime damages the body. In addition to the body, the tension of holding grudges increases chances of anxiety and depression.
For one’s own good, it is important to let things go or at least proportionately to a point where if justice is needed, it is provided, but one’s own constant internal struggle is limited. Spiritual individuals can sometimes find solace in leaving it in a higher power’s hands or even a karmic justice of the universe. Once, however, things are removed from one’s hands, it is best to accept what one can control and not allow something to tear at one inside. This may be easier said than done for those who are victims of crime, but even if crime or petty insult, holding on to anger and hate only hurts oneself overtime.
At a social and communal level, one merely needs to look on the map at the countless wars occurring now or throughout history. Blood feuds, grudges and ethnic hate carry one from generation to generation causing war and genocide. At family levels, uncles or brothers refuse to speak to each other causing family divide. A family grudge can cause strife during the holidays. While a small grudge may not lead to such extremes, one can see the power of hate at a micro level grow like a small flame into a massive forest fire. It is important to control anger, or slight, justified or unjustified in a way that does not spread hate or damage oneself.
The article, “5 Dangerous Consequences of Holding a Grudge” by Sean Grover takes a closer look at how personal grudges can overwhelm one’s entire life and lead to personal destruction. He states,
“Do you have trouble getting over a grudge? Do you obsessively ruminate about payback? Does the thought of “getting even” please you? If so, chances are you’re a grudge collector. And that’s not good news. Beneath the surface of every grudge is hurt. Betrayal, deceit, and broken trust are among the most common sources of grievances. Of course, we all eventually suffer hurt and humiliation, often at the hands of friends or loved ones. What you choose to do with the hurt determines if it hardens into a grudge or if you let it go and move on with your life.”
“5 Dangerous Consequences of Holding a Grudge”. Grover. S. (2023). Psychology Today.
To read the entire article, please click here
Glover points out that many who are unable to let go of slights or grudges have many issues themselves. In this particular setting, we are not referring to criminal actions against oneself but an individual who psychologically has issues with other people and has a hard time letting anything go. Within these mindsets, one finds individuals who are arrogant, spiteful, and are unforgiving. Individuals with these traits make things bigger and more personal than they need to be. They feel wronged when they are not wronged in many cases and carry out a revengeful plan. Not only does this person deal with their own inner demons but they also cause physical trauma within themselves by constantly being at war with the world.
It is important whether like an individual with these traits, or an individual who has been wronged to try to let go as best as possible in correlation to the magnitude of the event. Glover recommends processing the hurt, seeking support as needed and moving on. If the event was criminal, then of course accessing all possible venues, but if not, letting go. As for those with more selfish mindsets, it is best to take responsibility for one’s role in the event and learn from mistakes. This is easier said than done for some selfish individuals but if one wants inner peace, one needs to let go.
While some grudges are benign, some are criminal, and some grudges may be more one’s fault than the other. Regardless, anger and unprocessed hate cause damage to the body and soul and it is important to find ways to remove this negative energy from one’s body.
Please also review AIHCP’s Anger Management Specialist Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Anger Management.
“Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness”. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022). Mayo Clinic. Access here
“The Mental Health Effects of Holding a Grudge”. Vanbuskirk, S. (2021). VeryWellMind. Access here
“Holding Grudges Only Hurts You — Try These Tips to Let Them Go”. Telloian, C. (2022). Healthline. Access here
“Why We Hold Grudges, and How to Let Them Go”. Coller, N. (2015). Psychology Today. Access here