The Costly Nature of Holding a Grudge

Have you ever been angry at someone and resented them for what they did to you? This could be a past boss, friend, significant other.

We’ve all been there. After a heavy disagreement or a prolonged negative experience, something puts a weight on our mind and that cold lump in our throat. You proceed to do your daily routine but you cannot stop thinking about. In reality, it is a bright sunny day, but you can feel the bad mood hover above you like a dark cloud. The weight on your mind then tightens its hold on your head and manifests into a frown. Before you know it, you look into the mirror one morning and you have become the incarnation of Ronald Dahl’s The Twits.

What exactly are we holding on? And is it worth it?

When we hold a grudge, we wish that those who have done us wrong can feel our disappointment and our frustration. In all honesty, they probably moved on and have not given another thought since.

Try holding a jug of water in an outstretched arm. Hold it for a minute. Now hold it for 10. What about 30? How about an hour? I will be impressed if you were able to hold onto it for that long. It is easy to be angry and frustrated at someone for a short while, and that is perfectly normal. But just like holding the water jug for a prolonged amount of time, we feel the physical strain; with a grudge, we feel the mental strain.

We are also limiting ourselves. Either you keep holding the jug in one hand, limiting your usage of that limb. If you decide to keep holding on, you’re going to use both of your hands to support that jug. Now, you have nothing to do anything else with. That is the exact same thing with your mind. The more you think and hold onto something, the less capacity you have to move on to be more productive in the betterment of ourselves or other tasks we want to do.

As I mentioned in my previous post about mental stamina, we have a finite amount of it which we would like to invest into something more productive. Once we let go of what holds us back, we begin to replace it with gratitude as our perspectives naturally change to seek the positives. The busier your mind is, the less mental capacity you have obsessing over how you were wronged. When we hold a grudge towards someone or something, we are only filling ourselves with negativity and projecting it to everyone else around us.


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