I was listening to Darren on 94.7 last week and he has was asking people to forgive someone they had been holding a grudge against as payment for prizes they won on the show. This got me thinking about the fact that it is often easier said than done, to let go, forgive and let the past be the past. When we experience resentment or anger because someone did or said something that offended or hurt us, we’re holding a grudge. Often we hold on very tightly and for a very long time. This keeps us from dealing with whatever happened and moving on with our life. Holding grudges holds us back, saps our energy, damages our health and commonly taints the relationships we have today with those old hurts. So let’s put the past in the past right now and take Key Steps together to…

Let go and really live

1. Realise that forgiving does not equal condoning or reconciling. Many people deplore the idea of forgiveness because they see it as a weakness or an agreement to forget what happened or make it okay. This is not the case. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay”. It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever”. As noted by Dr Katherine Piderman, the Mayo Clinic’s staff chaplain, to forgive is not to condone, to relieve responsibility or to excuse the behaviour; forgiveness is a personal act that transfers emotional control back into your hands.

So, although letting go of a grudge can help restore a relationship (if that is your aim), reconciliation is not a requirement. Some people don’t deserve it; some grudges come out of conflicts significant enough to make you realise that you don’t want to deal with that person anymore or be in a relationship with them any longer. You can still forgive, if you recognise and realise that it does not mean condoning or reconciling. It simply means letting go, finding peace and liberating yourself! And remember, forgiveness is not just about forgiving other people, it’s for you too. Notice where you feel guilty about something in the past… you’re probably holding a grudge against yourself. It is time to get the lesson, forgive yourself, move on and make every effort to do better next time. Don’t live your life holding grudges. In the end, the person you hurt is… YOU!

2. Forgiveness is a process not an event. It is better to recognise and perhaps even say to yourself and others, “I am doing my best to forgive”, rather than, “I forgive”. Doing your best to forgive means a conscious and continuous effort to let go of your negative thinking and replace it with empowering thoughts. You could see the other person’s behaviour in a better light or – if that is not possible – remind yourself that you are choosing to drop the negativity to take your power back from the offender. You are doing it for YOU and not for them. To really let go of a grudge, you have to honour and respect your intentions of putting it behind you and not let it infect your thoughts, feelings or actions. Although it’s easier said than done, it can be done! Remind yourself that holding on to a grudge is actually more a sign of weakness than strength; it often just reinforces your insecurities and gives the offender an enormous amount of control over you. Take your power back today and…

“be the difference that makes the difference