“When we get even the slightest glimpse of the unity of life, we realize that in tearing others down we are tearing ourselves down too. When you sit in judgment on other people and countries and races, you’re training your mind to sit in judgment on yourself. As we forgive others, we are teaching the mind to respond with forgiveness everywhere, even to the misdeeds and mistakes of our own past.”– Eknath Easwaren
Forgiving and Grudges
A grudge is a belief that someone harmed you sufficiently that they are not deserving of your forgiveness.
The grudges and resentments that we hold on to can weigh us down considerably. They are like weeds that can suffocate a growing plant. It hurts to bear grudges. Anger and resentment are painful feelings. The fact that they are painful feelings should tell us something really important- especially knowing what we now know about the main purpose of our feelings- as feedback as to how aligned our personality is with our Soul.
The painful feelings associated with grudges are trying to tell us that we’re putting our attention on the wrong things- on the things that will not help us find what we’re really searching for.
Why We Hold Onto Grudges
So why do we hold on to grudges?
We hold on to them because they are safety cushions for the personality. The personality has a need to self-justify- to be “right.” In order to be right, it quite often must make others wrong.
At the same time the personality is trying to justify itself as right, it is also harshly judging itself. So we live with heavy doses of both guilt and grudges. We feel the pain, but instead of focusing on how to heal it, we often just feed the pain with more attention- we continue to try to justify the judgments the personality has made and we continue to feel guilty about it too. Its actually quite humorous when we finally gain an awareness of what’s happening.
Most of us have some deep resentments and grudges that we’ve held on to for years. Often they go back to childhood and deal with parents, siblings and friends. Another common source is personal and business relationships we enter into as adults that end up going bad and breaking apart.
If we can first learn to be our own compassionate judge, it will become so much easier for us to become a compassionate and forgiving judge of others.As you forgive others, the true reward is that you simultaneously learn how to forgive yourself. Click To Tweet
The two are really one. As you improve in one, you improve in both.
Questions to Ponder
- What are my feelings trying to tell me by making me feel bad when I think of the situation that I still hold a grudge over?
- How does forgiving others help me forgive myself?