We’ve all been hurt but you may feel that after being hurt you’re not living and loving with ease and freedom. You can’t seem to just “get over it”. You feel like you’re still holding onto the hurt even though you can’t explain why. Holding onto grudges could have you stuck in the past.
Cheryl was going through a rough patch in her relationship with her boyfriend. She needed a safe place to vent so she shared a few details with her best friend. Later, Cheryl discovered her friend had told others about her relationships troubles. This friend talked about Cheryl’s relationship problems to other people and Cheryl was left feeling humiliated.
Cheryl’s friend didn’t feel like she’d done anything wrong and eventually, their friendship ended. Years passed but Cheryl still found it difficult to become close friends with other women.
She couldn’t think of her former friend without getting angry all over again. She felt constantly suspicious and worried that others were talking about her.
Though the hurt that Cheryl had suffered by her friend was years in the past, holding onto her grudge was still affecting her life. Here are some ways to tell if a hurt in your past is affecting your future.
Grudges Leave You Stuck
When you’ve been hurt or injured, it’s natural to want an apology. You want your suffering and pain to be acknowledged. You want the emotional wound to be bandaged with care and compassion.
But when that doesn’t happen, you can become focused on the pain. You think about all of the times you were betrayed or all of the ways you’ve been used. You fixate on what’s wrong in the world and you can’t seem to move on. You’re letting a moment in the past color your experiences in the future.
Grudges Damage Your Relationships
When you’re holding onto old injuries, you can damage your other relationships without meaning to. For example, if your boyfriend in college cheated on you and you never worked through the pain, you may be suspicious of every man you date.
If one of your parents emotionally checked out on you when you were a kid, you may find that intimacy scares you. So you’re always waiting for that moment when your friend, partner, or someone else hurts or betrays you. That can punish people in your life for a pain that they didn’t cause.
Grudges Cause You to Miss Out on Experiences
A grudge can have you so focused on the past that you miss out on your present. You don’t try to get the job you really want because you’re still holding onto the insecurities of being raised by a critical parent.
You don’t chase your dreams because you’re still waiting for the acknowledgment or apology from your parent. You keep re-living your past, playing it over and over again like a song you know all of the lyrics to.
What If You Let Go?
You may be struggling with some emotional baggage or holding onto grudges that are keeping you from living your best life. I invite you to contemplate some “what if” questions: What if you let go of this pain? What would you gain if you no longer carried this pain around? What would your life look like without grudges?