Thursday, 24 November 2011

Embracing a Healthier Lifestyle: Grudges and Forgiveness

Hello lovelies!

So, here's a little fact about me that you might not know - I'm really, really bad at baring grudges. I just don't get it. Likewise for spiteful revenge and stewing in envy. I'm not really that much of a jealous person either. I'm horrifically insecure, but I'm just not really that good at doing the whole "I hate you, you ruined my life thing"*

I used to be though. I had a messy upbringing and a Mother who looooves to hate. She'll cling on to the rubbish in her life like you wouldn't believe, referring to people by horrible nicknames and generally making herself miserable as a result.

Despite the fact I would no longer call myself a Christian, it was Christianity that brought me to embrace the whole forgiveness thing. And I discovered that as I made an active attempt at forgiving people (and telling them that I forgive them), I became a lot happier and a lot more chilled out. I don't think any of us really like clinging on to the stuff from the past that makes me miserable, and I think that often, the only thing it ever really does is make us more miserable as a result.

The other thing I started to do was to seek people out to say sorry to - the girl that I was mean to at school, the friend that I lost touch with, the ex step-sibling I used to tell tales on. I started looking for people to say sorry to and to ask forgiveness of and it made me happier. 9 times out of 10, people are willing to accept your apologies and you can both move on with your lives. Sometimes, people cling to the stuff that's hurt them. That's ok. Well, I mean it's not, but you tried right? And that counts for something. And maybe, in a few years time when the hurts subsided and they've moved to a better place, they can forgive you too.

I'm writing this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because an old friend of mine, my best friend for my teenage years, got in touch today to say sorry for hurting me towards the end of our friendship. I had two choices - I could send her a message back telling her yeah she had hurt me and things had been shit and I'd needed her or I could message her back and let her know that I forgive her and I love her and I miss her. I'm guessing you know which one I went for. And it's so good to have her back in my life again. Because those things are true - I do still love her, and I did miss her and I truly do forgive her. And I accept that it takes balls to hunt someone down purely to say sorry - she didn't expect forgiveness, but she wanted me to know that she loved me, was sorry and hoped my life was working out. She didn't even try to make excuses for why she'd done the things she'd done. She just acknowledged that she'd done them, and that that hadn't been on.

Secondly, I'm writing it with the vague hope that I can encourage some of you to break free from grudge baring and clinging on to those old hurts. Go on. Or maybe, just maybe, to encourage you to go and apologise for that thing you did. But don't try and shift the blame or make excuses. Just say sorry, and mean it.

How are you with grudge baring and forgiveness? Do you cling to old hurts or can you let them go easily?

*This is true most of the time, but as I wrote this, I realised there's someone who I'm really, really baring a grudge against. I'm sending her a text the minute I publish this blog post. (ETA - I've sent the text. And you know what? I feel better for it. I apologised for the anger and hunt and resentment I've been clinging to towards this person and that situation. I'm still waiting to hear back, but that's ok)
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  1. likewise, i recently sent a message to an old friend i had hurt, and who i regret hurting - now we email each other every week and it's great. I agree with you about letting go of grudges. i'm very bad at doing it in a relationship context however - i don't speak to any of my exes really, and i'm going to have to see my most recent ex (it would have been our 3 year anniversary on sunday) tomorrow. he's coming to a gig that my friends are playing, and a lot of my friends will be there - i resent him coming into what i see as my "territory". i don't want to see him or speak to him - he did hurt me, although i know i was in the wrong too by the end of our relationship. i don't feel that the problem is too much emotion though, but that there's not enough emotion. i was not as gutted as i should have been to see the end of a long relationship, and i moved on by effectively cutting him out of my life. i don't really want to see him or speak to him, and all i can think of to say to him if he appraoches me are cold and sarcastic things. i don't want that side of me to come out in public, but neither do i want to let him force me into being his friend just to avoid awkwardness. i want us to let each other be - but that's not the way he works, he has a need to be friends and to be regarded in a good light. i feel he's going to hound me in "the nicest way possible" because he believes we should be the friends we used to be.

    anyway, that's a long story, but your post made me contemplative. thanks for the thoughts on forgiveness anyway :)

  2. This post really struck a chord with me. Not sure if I'm ready to send that email yet, but thank you xxx

  3. Anon - thank you so much for sharing. I agree being forced into friendships isn't good but being able to clear the air definitely is. I hope that you mange to find a way to sort things.

    Curlymoomin - thank you sweetie for sharing. I hope that you manage to get to a place where you can send that email soon :)

  4. Good thoughts Emily, thankyou for this thought-provoking post. From my experience sometimes it can even help to write a letter that you know you will never send. I've successfully made peace with some people I held a grudge against by first speaking my mind in an unsent letter and then forgiving them and letting go of any grudges :)


Your comments and thoughts are really appreciated :) Thank you for taking the time to chat xx