How to Let Go of A Grudge – Mental Spring Cleaning
by Vlad Dolezal
Why let go of a grudge?
Holding a grudge is a bit like holding onto a bag of horseshoes while swimming. It brings you down.
Occasionally it can be useful to hold anger and use it to drive you to take action. But most of the time, a grudge just needlessly makes you feel worse. It feels bad, drains your energy, and makes you behave negatively towards the person you’re holding the grudge against, keeping your relationship to them stuck in a rut of negativity.
Letting go of a grudge is a freeing experience. It’s like finally letting go of that big bag of horseshoes you’ve been dragging over your shoulder wherever you go. You can still disapprove of a person’s actions and not want anything to do with them – but now you’ll do it with a calm, peaceful feeling, rather than always getting huffed up and upset around them.
Mind this – letting go of a grudge means forgiveness. True forgiveness.
If you say things like “yeah, I forgive him, but I still hate his guts for what he’s done and wish he’d die in a fire while being eaten alive by piranhas” – then you haven’t really forgiven. Once you forgive, the strong negative feelings are gone.
How to let go of a grudge
The technique I’m about to share with you works because your unconscious mind can’t tell the difference between reality and a vividly imagined event.
And it’s your unconscious mind we want to get through to. You might logically know how you want to behave towards a person towards whom you hold a grudge. But if you always get upset and uncomfortable whenever you think of them or meet them, no amount of logical thinking will help.
Instead, let’s tap into your subconscious mind directly, and let the magic happen.
The process is simple:
- Take a large sheet of paper, and compose a hand-written letter to the person towards whom you’re holding a grudge. Explain how their actions affected you and hurt you. Then explain that you forgive them, and no longer feel anger towards them. Pour your heart into this letter – don’t worry, nobody else will ever see it, only you.
- Next, write a letter from them to yourself. Make it explain that they’re sorry for their actions. Write down all the things you wish you would hear them say. Sign it with their name.
- After that, set a time every day to read the two letters. The one from you to them, then the response letter from them to you.
- Soon, after just a few days, you will start to feel that you truly do forgive them, and the burden will be lifted off your shoulders. Keep reading the two letters until you have completely let go of your grudge.
This technique works incredibly well, because those two hand-written letters give your unconscious mind a strong mental image to react to. (Writing them by hand makes them much more powerful than typing them out.) And by re-reading the two letters, you will reinforce this situation in your mind, and soon feel all the old negative feelings of a grudge dissolve, and be replaced by peace and forgiveness.
Give it a try if you don’t believe me! You’ll be surprised by the results.
And that’s all for today. In the next post, we’ll tackle how to tame your inner critic!