When I was 15 I had a girlfriend who I treated with the utmost respect. One day, I came to her apartment and her father answered the door. He looked at me and said, "You're not welcome here." I was in shock. Why? What had I done? I never found out why the girl and her father rejected me. Many, many years later, I was contacted by an old friend who said the girl, now woman, wanted me to contact her via email. Oddly enough, the first thing that came up was the hurt from that long ago rejection from her father. I emailed her asking her why I had been treated that way. She never responded. I realized then that I had carried that hurt, that grudge in my heart for many years and had never let it go. I was surprised that I had unknowingly carried that grudge with me for so long but I instinctively knew it was time to forgive and let go.
A few years later, I heard the comedian, Louis C. K. say, "No, I don't hold grudges. I don't have a grudge in my life. I forgive people. I just don't believe you owe anybody in your life a relationship. It's healthy and fair to opt in or out and it's actually more fair to do that than to hold people's feet to the fire for everything they've done." This rang true for me and I recognized that it was important to let go of grudges and that was a way to forgive.
How do you overcome a grudge? You have to first be aware that you hold one. The second step is to resolve to release the grudge by forgiving the person you hold a grudge for, forgive yourself and forgive the situation that caused the grudge.
This practice of forgiveness has been the greatest single health booster in my life. It has helped me achieve inner peace, happiness, compassion, tolerance, balance and harmony. It has helped me maintain an optimistic outlook on life.
The world needs to overcome its grudges as we see the carnage resulting from the holding of ancient grudges. Grudges are poison. Why hold onto poison?