Let me clarify that this article is not an advice, or a guide or a preaching. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about and how I’ve been able to handle some situations. I would be glad if people can share their experiences too in return.

Everyone comes upon at least one time in life when someone close does something unpleasant. Its least expected of that person but they do it. Most often, that causes the relation to sour as one then bears a grudge and holds it for a long time. Take situations like property disputes, parents’ interference, marital matters, insults, bypassed promotions, breach of trust; the list could be long. The discontent in being treated in an unexpected way, which caused a loss in some way, ends up in one bearing a grudge – which lasts a very long time during which the relation sours. Some people bear the grudge for a whole lifetime, never forgiving the “offender”. Some people hold it till Time – the Eternal Curer reduces the memory of the incident and the grudge finally fades away.

So, what do I have now to share on this topic?

To begin with, what does one get by holding the grudge? Does it help in achieving anything useful? How does it benefit to keep a negative image of the “offender” in one’s mind and re-live the incident again and again and keep its memory alive? What does one benefit by holding a grudge? For one – he avoids the “offender” so that he does not get hurt again. Yes, that’s one good reason to remember and bear the grudge. But going a bit deeper – why did it hurt in the first place? Essentially because an expectation was not met, a dream was destroyed, a feeling was crushed.

Now, does that mean that life ends there? Obviously not. Life continues on its own course and eventually Time soothes the hurt feelings. It’s only when one relives the moment of hurt again and again in the mind that Time is unable to heal and ultimately Death does the job instead. It’s very much like a physical wound – if one keeps touching, poking, pressing, piercing the location of the wound, it obviously will not heal, or will take much more time to heal. The difference in a physical wound and a mental or emotional wound, however, is in the cognizance of the wound itself. While the mind feels the physical wound and generates the desire to have it healed, there is no other factor apart from the mind itself to feel the mental wound and create the desire to heal.

So, when thoughts towards something or someone turn negative, it’s good to tell oneself that it is because something has got hurt in the mind and needs to get healed. That’s the first challenge. Kindling the want to heal is a grand task in itself. People live with hurt feelings without even understanding that they are feelings of pain. Hurt causes people to fall sick, get unhappy, become grumpy, lose patience; and still people don’t realize what they are doing to themselves.

The understanding of a hurt feeling and the want to heal it is the first step to be happy.

This done, if the wish to heal has come up, a nice way would be to ask oneself how long one would like to keep the pain alive in one’s memory. How long does one want to hold the grudge and how long does one want the impact of the incident to remain? How long does one want “not to forget” the “wrong doings” of the “offender”? A lifetime? 25 years? 10 years?

If the intent to let go is kindled, it may as well be enacted upon now rather than later.

Then again, how important is the whole episode in one’s life? How important is it in one’s family and relatives, who would count to a hundred plus generally. How important is it to the city where a few lakhs of people live? How important is it in this world where several billions of people reside and live their lives, where countless other beings live their lives unmindful of the turbulence in one’s mind? Why preserve a feeling then in one’s mind which is just going unnoticed and can only cause more hurt for pain for oneself when better alternatives exist?

It’s not easy to let go of negative feelings and grudges. But if done, I find from my personal experience that it only brings joy; it brings upon the elusive happiness which we want, which is always around us to grab; but eludes us because we fail to seek it. Happiness matters more than sadness and its only logical and practical to seek happiness rather than hold things which cause one to be away from that happiness.

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Subhash Iyer

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