Friday, June 12, 2009

Is You, Or Ain't You?

Grudges are like bad gas. The longer you hold them inside, the worst you feel in the end. Big Man

Just let it go.

Fly like the wind.

Relax, relate, release.

The inability to move on has ruined more lives than french fries. (Why must french fries taste so good? They are one of the worst foods in the world to eat, yet they taste AMAZING. Sorry...)

I've been angry. I've been bitter. But, the older I get, the more serious I get about God, marriage and life. With that change, the more I realize how foolish I once was. Holding on to anger, nursing petty grievances, it's crazy man.

We see it in politics, in relationships, in every aspect of human life. Folks just won't let go.

So, I'm wondering, why not?

What's the goal, what's the ultimate purpose of holding on? I'm curious what y'all think. If any of you have problems with bitterness, if you find it hard to let go of past hurts and slights, I'd like to hear why.




Deacon Blue said...

I for one, am never going to forgive you for that thing you did, that one time, at that place.

You know...


Now that smart-aleckedness is out of the way, I agree with you at least 100% on this. I don't hold many grudges, really, but I saw through my mom how holding onto them for a long time can eat you up terribly.

Shattered friendships, wasted years (or decades), etc...

Babydok said...

First let me say your thoughts are making a difference in my life. Thank you Big man. I have been fighting this demon for years and as I grow spiritually I have come to realize something. It is ewasier to feel wronged by someone else than to face the reality that what we did may not have been that christ-like either. Especially in relationships it is easier to blame someone else. We create a scenario where we can accept the end or the problems if it is all someone else's fault. So we cling to that anger and it grows and gets it's own life. In many cases it takes us over. It becomes who we are. we become bitterness. I let a wrong that someone did to me early in a relationship define that relationship and used it to justify things that I did wrong. As I age I have come to realize that just because I did something it does not make it right. Our whole society needs to see that and we can move towards a more morally just world. Thanks for the words and keep writing.

Jazzy said...

I've finally learned to let go and forgive when I read that holding on to anger, bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.

cinco said...

Because deep down our passive aggressive behaviors come out and we feel 'better' about are pain and/or loss when something bad happens to another. (there's a German word just for this behavior).

Is it right? Idk. Does it happen, for sure:

The whole thing is like the gawkers that flock highways/or streets when tragedy has occurred-these events remind. You that there's always someone worse off or in a worse situation.

Imhotep said...

Big man, I (for the most part) deal with past slights, and place them in some context that allow me to move on and deal with the vicissitudes of life.

But what I have a major problem with are past slights that are not really past but recurring. These slights I take personal, especially when they are an affront to my humanity, whether they are directed at me or any group that I'm affiliated with.

Yea, it bothers me that I hold a grudge, mainly because I've taken on the poisonous, corrosive hatred of those denying me of my humanity, but such is life. I'll leave it up to Jesus to turn the other cheek.

I think that notion of forgive and forget is a bit unrealistic because we're complex creatures, and our responses to slights will vary. So, we cannot expect everyone to just man up and keep stepping. It’s not realistic. I believe our response to slights directly relates to who cause the hurt and the circumstances involved. If it’s an isolated incident, then yes, find a way to compartmentalize it and keep moving. If it recurring and you’re unable to control the situation, then hate is an option, and cannot rule out homicide.

MODI said...

I think that I'm real good at forgiving -- as I've pretty quickly forgiven pretty much everyone who has ever wronged me. The forgetting part -- not so much. I think its important not to forget, so it's like fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Because like you said, holding a grudge is voluntarily giving someone power over you. If I have any problem it is getting burned multiple times by extending someone too much benefit of the doubt -- at which point I generally blame myself.

Lisa J said...

Intellectually I understand the not holding on to things, but sometimes I find it really hard to do emotionally. Maybe it is because when whatever the thing or instance that I am bitter about occured, I felt victimized or like I was being treated like less of a person. Sometimes I feel like it could be a way of compensating for a feeling of powerlessness, i.e I subconsciously feel powerful b/c I can hold onto and have all of this energy and anger towards this thing that occured at a moment when I felt vulnerable and feel justified or like it is a way of taking control, which makes no sense logically but I think that is where I'm going in my subconscious. I also sometimes think it can make me go on, like by feeling angry or holding on to the thing keeps me from crumpling and giving into feelings of hopelessness, it is like the anger is food and keeps me going. Not healthy. I have been working on it, but it isn't easy, especially when the person or thing that you feel betrayed you was someone you felt close to or held dear to your heart. I also find that sometimes things I think I let go can just jump back up seemingly out of nowhere and come back at full force.

Deacon Blue said...

I think "holding on" to the anger or grudge is often a situational thing. I mean, some people will hold on forever for no good or healthy reason. And yet, even for those of us who are more ready to let it go and/or forgive, there are times when holding on isn't all that bad...nor unjustifiable.

One context in which holding on and not truly forgiving might be at least somewhat justified is when someone not only wrongs you, but continues to exercise that wrong against you by rubbing your face in it, denying you opportunities, etc.

For example, I had an editor a couple years ago at a publication not so subtly accuse me of plagiarism in a sidebar. Mind you, in some 20 years as a journalist, I've never been accused of that, and it was a damn SIDEBAR! A short companion piece to a much longer article. The material that the editor felt was mirroring some other publication's article was short, could have easily been left out of my coverage entirely, and was essentially filler anyway. Yet, based on that one thing, even after doing several articles before then with top-notch work, I was blacklisted. I couldn't get another assignment. No consideration for the past, no chance to defend myself...just written on. It was a huge financial impact, but I did feel the lack of those additional assignments. And the petty way they had stripped from me, as well as the editor's unwillingness to accept an apology I didn't think I needed to offer anyway, chafed at me a long time.

It's a lot easier to let go when the slight that is delivered is a "whoops" or "mea culpa" kind of thing. The person who did it might not even really feel sorry about doing it, but if it has no lasting repercussions, forgiving and possibly forgetting is much easier.

Sometimes, people will keep at you with those wrongs. They won't let you be, even when you try to ignore them, and in those cases it can be damn near impossible to forget, and almost as hard to forgive.

Deacon Blue said...

Whoops! Edit first, Deac...

I mean't "written off" and I meant to say it wasn't a huge financial impact.

Big Man said...

I just want to say that all of y'all came HARD in the comments on this post.

Thank you very much for the sincere and thought provoking responses.

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