Photo by [David Castillo Dominici]
We’ve all been there… You get into it with someone about something, and let’s say they really ticked you off. Of course it’s human nature to disagree with others, merely because it feels good to be right. Sometimes whether you are right or not, in your own mind, you’re 100% correct! But none the less, it’s so easy to hold a grudge against the person you’ve been arguing with. Something like this can eat away at you for days and sometimes years if you allow it.
Of course it’s really easy to say, “ahh, don’t let it bother you.” But it may not be quite so easy to abide by that. I for one am probably the worlds worst at letting things get to me a little more than they should. Normally after I’ve had some time to stew over the situation for a bit, I tend to relax some. But have you ever thought about how getting yourself so riled up can affect your body and mind?
Is a Grudge Dangerous to Your Health?
It’s a known fact that stress can affect your mind and body in some not so good ways. Stress can lead to many other health problems such as high blood pressure, headaches, hives and can even give you a severe nervous condition. Of course holding a grudge is a key factor in stress. If you’re holding a grudge against someone, then that means it’s constantly in the back of your mind. I know when I’m mad at someone that I tend to replay the incident over and over in my mind for quite some time. This really isn’t healthy.
Worrying and stressing can make a person physically sick, some folks to the point of hospitalization. As discussed in my post, The Medicine of Laughter, people that are miserable may have a lower immune system and are more often sick than people that are happy. So it’s good to keep this in the back of your mind when you get nice and flustered at someone.
In all honesty, our lives are full of enough stresses these days, why would you want to add more to yourself. As fast paced and competitive the world is today, it’s easy to stress on things. You can clearly see it in the TV shows we view, everything is a big competition to be the best. It’s simply not good enough to just be yourself anymore. I swear it’s like an act of Congress to find something to watch that isn’t a reality show. Meeting deadlines, trying to please others, work, family life, bills…. The list goes on and on of legitimate things that one could stress over. There really is no need to allow someone else to get to you to the point of adding an extra load on your mind.
How to Overcome a Grudge
Ok, so we’ve talked about the disease of contracting a grudge, and many of the reasons why it’s bad for you. So now I think it’s important to go over a few exercises that may help you overcome the grudges your holding on to so dearly.
Many people will say, “Just count to 10 and take deep breaths.” But come on, in reality does this little trick work? Excuse me for saying, but Hell No! When I’m fired up and ready to attack, there’s no way I can settle down enough to count to 10 and breathe. LOL So here’s what I try to do…
First off, the best thing I find that works to get the healing in motion is to simply get away from the person you have a disagreement with. As long as you’re both standing face to face, all you can do is try to come up with the next horrible thing you want to say. So part ways, if not permanently at least temporarily until both of you have calmed down a bit.
The second thing I try to do is think about the real reason you’re arguing and ask yourself this, “Will it make a difference?” Now there are some worthy causes out there that may truly be worth fighting for. If that’s the case, then you need a well devised plan on how to conquer the fight. But more times then not, arguments are started over some of the simplest things. So if it’s not worth the effort, then why waste your breath. We only get so many breaths in this life time, each one is precious.
More times then not, after answering whether or not the issue is truly worth it, you may begin feeling a lot better about the situation already. But at this point it’s always good to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Ask yourself this, “How does the other person feel?” By seeing things from another person’s perspective, it may help shed some light on where they’re coming from. Everyone believes that their way of thinking is the right one, so keep in mind it’s possible you may be the one in the wrong. As long as you’re still stewing over the situation, you’ll never admit to yourself you’re wrong. All that matters is proving your point. So this I believe is a very important step to getting over your anger.
Usually an argument doesn’t just affect the people that are arguing. Sometimes there may be others within hearing or seeing distance from the action. So this is actually something we should learn to do before a confrontation even begins. Think about this, “How is this affecting the people around you?” The best argument is one that has been avoided all together. So make yourself aware of others in the room. A knock down drag out will affect everyone around you, and it’s easy to say things you don’t mean while in the heat of the moment. So be conscious of others and try to avoid looking like a heel. Using this as an after thought may prevent an argument from continuing.
By this time you should be able to count to 10 and take some deep breaths. Try to clear your head of all the bad and if possible, just agree to disagree. Usually an apology at this point whether you’re in the wrong or not will calm the waters so everyone can get back to normal. Chances are the other person is probably feeling just as bad as you. An apology may not always be out right saying you’re sorry. Apologies can come in many different forms, even just saying, “Man, we’re a couple of dorks.” to the other person will make you both feel better and may even lighten the mood enough for a chuckle.
I believe that if you can conclude an argument on good terms, and make it a learning experience, then all grudges should be eliminated. It’s the confrontations that never have any closure that we hang on to the most. Even though an argument may start off nasty, they don’t have to end that way. Of course it’s entirely up to you.
So let’s go over these 5 simple steps again
- Get away from them for a while.
- Will it make a difference?
- How does the other person feel?
- How is this affecting the people around you?
- Clear your head and Apologize.
There are those occasions where you may not be able to avoid holding a grudge. But these are some simple steps that may help you feel better about it. Negative encounters in our lives never truly leave our minds, but we have to learn to live with them. At least by coming to a conclusion, that is a start in the healing process. Just always remember, if you continue to feed on anger, you are only hurting yourself.