After all of the drama and trauma of the last few years, I’m hearing more and more from friends about how they’re no longer speaking to different family members. If we keep letting grudges steal whatever time we have left with loved ones, we’ll only regret it one day. Let’s discuss.
Don’t Let Grudges Take Away Any More Time with Loved Ones
On the day we’re born, God, the Fates, the universe, or just biology (depending on what you believe) basically writes down our expiration date and locks it away. It could be 100 years from now or tomorrow. We don’t get to know until that date arrives, and by then it’s too late to do anything about it.
So, given that our days are literally numbered, shouldn’t we live like there’s no tomorrow? Shouldn’t we spend as much time as humanely possible with the people that we love, doing what makes us happy? You’d think that would be our top priority in life, right?
Right! Except lately, it’s not. We’re spending way more time feeling angry with each other than we are loving each other these days. We’re holding grudges like never before, and those grudges are chip-chip-chipping away at whatever time we have left together. It makes me so sad, thinking about how all of this anger will lead to nothing but regret.
Stop Letting Ego Hold You Hostage
I saw a great quote by Jerome Trammel that said,
“It only takes one second to say:
- I love you
- I apologize
- Can we talk?
- You were right.
- I don’t want to be at odds.
Stop letting your pride and ego hold you hostage from the happiness in life.”
That’s exactly what we’re doing. We’ve wrapped ourselves up alone in cloaks made of anger and pride when she should be bundled up together under a fuzzy blanket of love. Cheesy, I know, but it’s a good metaphor, don’t you think?
I hear so many stories from friends and loved ones about how grudges are just getting in the way of happiness. For example, I know quite a few people who haven’t spoken to each other since November 3rd of last year. Based on the date, I’m sure you can figure out what the fight was about.
Time went by. A day turned into a week, which turned into a month. They didn’t speak during the holidays aside from a brusque “Merry Christmas” text. A new year came and went. As months flew by, it became harder and harder to repair the rift, so it just kept getting wider. After all, at least one of them would have to bury their pride and take the first step. It’s so much easier to hold a grudge than to put your heart on the line and risk rejection, isn’t it?
Don’t let pride or fear of rejection keep you from reaching out
I saw another quote (unknown source) that perfectly states this. It says, “Don’t let pride get in the way of your happiness. If you miss them, tell them. If you love them, show them. Don’t miss an opportunity out of fear of rejection or looking weak.”
If you want my opinion (and I’ll assume you do since you’re still reading), grudges have very little to do with actual anger and more to do with pride and fear. Sure, they may start off with anger. Someone does something we don’t like, and we get mad. That’s a normal human reaction.
The thing is, anger burns bright and hot, but it also extinguishes itself pretty quickly. When it does, we’re left with two decisions: let the smoke clear and get to work on repairing the damage or stoke the remaining embers and try to rekindle its flame.
Too often, we choose the latter, not because we genuinely want to keep feeling angry and resentful, but because we’re too scared to let it go, especially if we’ve been stoking the flames for a very long time. We know that the longer we let it burn, the greater the damage it causes, and the harder we’ll have to work to set things right again.
That terrifies us, because what if we finally do put it out and put our heart out there only to hear, “Sorry, but it’s too late. I gave up on waiting for you to forgive me long ago. I forgave myself, moved on, and realized that my life is better without you in it.” Sure, it’s unlikely that someone we love would ever say that to us, but fear rarely pays attention to logic. So we let ourselves believe that could happen, We use it as an excuse to fool ourselves into thinking that we’re still mad just so we can avoid taking that leap.
The thing is every moment that you avoid taking that risk…every moment that you hold on tight to your grudges and wear them like a suit of armor…is a moment that you’ll never get back. Eventually, unless you really just plain don’t care about that person (in which case, stop wasting time on anger and just let them go), you’re going to make up.
When you do, you’ll realize that you’ve allowed anger, pride, and ego to steal what little time you have with someone you love. That’s when true regret sets in. When your expiration date nears and you’re reflecting on your life, I can promise that you won’t say to yourself, “I regret not holding onto that grudge against Mary a bit longer. A year just wasn’t enough time to waste on anger.”
I’ll finish up with one last quote to summarize. Sarah Teasdale wrote, “Life is too short. Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness. Laugh when you can., apologize when you should and let go of what you can’t change. Love deeply and forgive quickly, take chances, give everything, and have no regrets.”