As 2017 gets underway, I am aiming to do better than I did last year, and this time, I am determined to do so. There’s a lot that I do want to repeat from 2016. Among these are bearing grudges against those who harmed me.
Last year, I carried a lot of weight from previous years around, and it took a toll on me. I ended up suffering from deep depression, angry outbursts, and cynicism. While I knew I was better off letting go of what was done to me, rather than holding on to it so tightly, I simply couldn’t let go of the grudges. I felt it was justified. After all, I had been slandered, bullied and harassed. I was scorned for things I did not do. I suffered a severe mental breakdown as a result.
So why not carry around a grudge? I had every right to be angry at those who hurt me.
But as the clock struck midnight this Sunday, I was beginning to realize that if I wanted a better year and better me for 2017, I needed to let go. I needed to let go of all the anger I had. That anger was not doing me any good, and it certainly was not hurting those who had hurt me. They went on with their lives, unharmed and unaffected by what they did to me. It sucks, but that’s reality. Karma is supposed to be a bitch, but sometimes it is unreliable.
As for me, I was turning into a moody, angry and/or depressed person. You know the saying, “refusing to forgive is like swallowing poison and hoping the other guy gets sick”? Yep, that was what I was going through. And if those who had hurt me were to know I was still suffering, I’m sure they would’ve laughed.
So, I am taking steps to let the hurt and anger go. It is not doing me any good. It is not making me healthier. It is not making me happier, more confident, or more nicer. It is making me unstable, unreliable and unhappy. I’m still letting those who hurt me have power over me.
It is good to know that forgiveness is not about trusting someone or willing to be friends with them again. I think Lauryn Hill said it best with this song:
It is not easy to let go of grudge, but I think the key is to soften up one’s pride and ego, and stop playing the victim. Of course, we were all victims once of someone’s malicious ways, and we have a right to be angry. But after a while, that anger turns into victimhood and it doesn’t turn you into the best of human beings. And honestly, do you want to be as bad as those who had hurt you?
Sometimes Jesus Christ’s teachings about forgiveness sounds absurd, even to this Christ follower, but in the end, holding grudges no longer makes sense.
One day at a time, I’ll be letting go. I want this year to be so much better than last year. And I can’t have that if I carry my grudges.
I’ve learned that carrying grudges ruins your self-respect because you’re allowing those you don’t even like to have control over you. I remember one church sign that read: “He who angers you controls you.” If you don’t like someone, why give them control over you? And turn you into a mess?
Let it go…