Thursday, 28 April 2011

Letting go of grudges

I've always thought of myself as a pretty forgiving person because I really believe that we do not forgive for the sake of others, we forgive in order to be freed from the burden of the past. However recently I discovered that deep down I had been harbouring a bitter resentment towards someone who had hurt me many years before. Holding onto this grudge, even sub-consciously, had begun to distort many areas of my life, even down to the way in which I made decisions about my career and my future.

You see I had thought that I had forgiven this person years ago and it wasn't until I heard news that he had changed careers and was doing remarkably well in the field in which I myself worked that I found myself feeling some really intense feelings of dislike and anger towards him. 'What is he doing muscling in on me like this? Who does he think he is?' I even started to distance myself from this area of my work and to tell myself that I wasn't really interested in it anymore. I couldn't accept that I would have to come second to this person. I began to think of myself in opposition to this person by creating a separation between us that doesn't really exist. I could then turn him into an enemy. 

Of course this person had no idea I was feeling this way. From his perspective we were 'ok'. We had talked over our problems years ago and I had forgiven him. Or so we had both thought at the time. My grudge towards this person were harming only myself. I became caught up in thoughts and feelings that made me feel unhappy and incompetent, and even risked losing the work I love and through which I can make a useful contribution to the world.

So how can we let go of a grudge like this that is so deep seated as to be almost unconscious? Well I believe the first key is to see how so many of the things we resent from our past have actually been opportunities to grow and to change, or have created turns in the path that have led us to where we are now. We become stronger through crises such as these and because these people have instigated this growth and change we can choose to think of them with gratitude instead of resentment. In fact some teachers even suggest that such people are actually crucial to our life journey and without them we would not be able to evolve to our full potential.

Secondly, it's important to see where your own actions played a role in your own hurt. We are never victims in this life but active agents manifesting our reality from moment to moment. Look back at the situation and you will probably see where you failed to follow your intuition, or acted in anger or with a lack of consciousness. Maybe you should have spoken up about something, stood up for yourself, or even walked away. But you didn't. You cannot pretend that you were not involved and cast all the blame on the other person.

Finally, I think it's important to see that we can only see another as an enemy when we think of them as separate from us. Discoveries in quantum physics are showing that our idea of separateness, of independence, is really only an illusion created by the mind. We are in fact one being, we co-create our reality. When we acknowledge this it becomes much harder to hold a grudge, for who are we resenting but our self?

Letting go of our grudges frees us from our past, from our painful, obsessive and illusory thoughts, and allows us to move into a place where we can trust that everything that happens is an opportunity for growth and change. We are not a victim of life but its creator. We are not separate from each other but interdependently linked, constantly co-creating ourselves and our reality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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