Holding a grudge is like arguing with a judge in court. The more you do it, the worse the outcome. Bearing a grudge toward someone adds to your stress, and affects your physical and mental health. So how do you let go when someone slights you?
I’ve had my share of opportunists; friends who used me for who I know, not who I am; friends who needed work; those who took my heart and graciousness for granted… Anger is a normal reaction for people in those kinds of situations. But if that feeling remains for a long time, it can and will burden you – as it has me. Bearing a grudge will leave you carrying a very heavy burden. And just like carrying a real fifty pound backpack, if you have been carrying it for too long, there will come a time when you won’t be able to do it anymore. The burden becomes too great, and you will give up – possibly on life.
Forgiving someone is not easy – at all. It requires understanding why the other person has committed wrongdoing. I had a best friend who rebounded with my ex-boyfriend just days after we broke up…
But I was the one who gave them concert tickets to see a band I was too depressed to see after he and I split. So I had to look at my actions and then forgive him and my friend.
When you forgive, you replace anger with feelings of good will. You will stop thinking about the situation in fury. By letting go of rage, you also stop bearing a grudge.
It comes down to patience – becoming continuously mindful of anger and the benefits of patient acceptance. When you feel an angry thought, take immediate steps to transform it. Over time, you’ll experience insults or minor setbacks to your routine, and then slowly increase your wellsprings of patience until you can manage the greatest difficulty without getting angry.
For me, betrayal equals death. But it’s taught me patience. It’s taught me to look at why I might self-sabotage by inviting the wrong people into my inner circle. It’s taught me not to retaliate, though I so wanted to scratch that itch!
But I recently read An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. This graph truly made an impression: “When we are meditating on patience, we can use many different lines of reasoning to help us overcome our tendency to retaliate. For example, we can contemplate that if someone were to hit us with a stick, we would not get angry with the stick, because it was being wielded by the attacker and had no choice.”
So if someone insults or harms you, he or she is doing so out of delusion. Their mind is clouded. The reason why we receive harm is that we’ve harmed others in our past. People who attack us are catalysts for our karmic path. If we retaliate, we create negative effects for our present negative cause. But if you can come to accept the slight, the pain, the burdensome drudgery that is negativity, you’ll break these patterns and pay off your karmic debt.