By Roz Jones
If we look back over our lives as caregivers, we can reflect on this question. Who hasn’t been hurt by someone? Maybe your spouse cheated on you. Maybe your best friend from high school stole your boyfriend. Maybe you have a co-worker who is stealing your ideas or a boss who bullies you. Worse, you might have experienced trauma from physical, mental, or other forms of abuse. As time passes, some wounds don’t heal, and when that happens, you could end up carrying a grudge. Grudges are those leftover feelings of anger and resentment that prevent you from growing as a person. It’s time we let go and move beyond our pasts.
Tips to Let Go of Grudges and Get Your Life Back
Holding a grudge is often an indication of unforgiveness. It can tear at your soul and corrode your physical and emotional health. It can affect all of your current and future relationships as a caregiver. Take the needed steps to release the grudge and gain your life back:
- Establish Why You Are Holding the Grudge: You need to determine what the problem is so that it can be forgiven. Sometimes, you will find that the offense is not worth the grudge. Other times, you will know precisely what is causing the pain.
- Consider the Benefits of Forgiveness: Choosing to forgive does not mean you forget, nor does it mean that the other person won. Instead, it means you let go of the resentment holding you back from living your life fully.
- Acknowledge Your Emotions: Avoid stuffing the emotions down. Use a journal if you want, but take some time to examine your feelings about the harm you received. Also, think about how this affects your behavior and your relationships.
- Look at it from Their Perspective: This will not always apply depending on the harm done. However, try putting yourself in their shoes. Under similar circumstances, would you have done the same thing to them?
- Talk with the Other Party: Open communication can remedy some grudges simply. If you believe it will help, approach the other party to see if they will talk with you.
- Release the Victimhood: Choose to accept what happened and your feelings about it. You don’t have to wait for an apology. (HINT: You may never get one.) Instead, stop playing the ‘wounded one’ card and take back your life by healing, releasing the anger and the grudge.
- Avoid Dwelling: This may be the most challenging part, but it is critical. Once you choose to forgive, don’t look back. Avoid dwelling on the situation. If others want to bring it up, change the subject. Your healing is worth it.
Grudges don’t need to define you as a person. Let go of the past and spring forward to your new life by releasing resentments today.
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We’re beginning to launch into new territory with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Caregiver Connection! The Caregiver Connection is a network for family caregivers that provides care for child(ren) or elderly and Roz Jones has been invited to speak on August 3rd! We are honored to share the same space!