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Another guest post today, this time from the utterly fabulous Dani Crater of The Unseasoned Wag. If you haven’t read any of her content yet, you’ll probably want to do so immediately (well, after reading her post here first).
When we started collaborating, I was thinking of writing a post on the best way to let go of the past – something I have so much trouble with.
I must shamefully admit that I am the Queen of Grudges. I can hold it close like the best of them.
Obviously, it’s not great for my inner peace and my mental health so I’ve been looking for ways to do it effectively.
Enter Mrs. Crater who asked if she could write about letting bygones be bygones. Since I’m familiar with her writing (I love her humour!), I jumped at the chance.
And here you have it. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did. 🙂
At some point in our lives, we’ve all had a negative experience at the hands of another person that we’ll never forgive & most definitely never forget.
From the time our childhood friend didn’t save us a seat on the school bus to a full-blown family feud that resulted in us cutting all ties with our siblings, we all bear a grudge against someone.
It’s not big & it’s not clever & most of the time it’s for something rather forgivable if we could just swallow our pride & get over it.
So why do we insist on holding onto such anger, upset, hatred for an occasion way in our past?
Without getting too philosophical so early on in a post, life is what we choose to make it so if we choose grudges, our lives are bound to be tormented by rivalries & unnecessary resentment.
However, if we let bygones be bygones we open ourselves up for a blissful life. Because lord knows, we deserve an easier time with all the stresses that modern living throws at us beyond our control!
Remember the time we went for the same job promotion as Susan?
When we knew the role inside out and had prior experience of it but she got the promotion over us because she was friends with Steve who was in charge of recruitment?
We’ve hated them both ever since even though we know Susan disliked the job she moved into & we later got a far more lucrative offer from the company.
We’re in a much better place than we’d ever have been in if we’d have got that petty little promotion that we never even really wanted anyway! Yet every time we see either of that pair around the office we’re instantly reminded of that whole situation & shoot daggers at them.
Because we choose to be reminded by it.
We’ve got the mortgage to pay, the car has its MOT coming up, those test results from our last smear still haven’t come back, there’s a whole lot of uncontrollable stress that tries to get in the way of our daily happiness so the least we can do for our own wellbeing is forget about Susan, Steve and promotiongate.
It’s negativity we don’t need.
And, when we think about it, she’s actually really good at the job & we’d always got along really well with Steve beforehand!
Of course, forgiving enemies from days gone by won’t bring forth an instant solution to a lifetime of hassle but what it does do is allow us to embrace enough control & strength of character to be able to tackle those unavoidable bumps in the road.
It takes a tough cookie to walk away from a situation like that but an even tougher one to completely let go of the said situation and, naturally, we know that it’s often easier said than done but why is it so hard to actually do?
And, more importantly, why is it so beneficial to us?
The most simple reason behind every grudge we hold against someone, regardless of the reason or severity, is because we always believe we are in the right in any disagreement (otherwise, why would we even be feuding in the first place!).
And the reason we keep a hold of that grudge is because we’re too damn proud to ever think we’re wrong & far too proud to back down if we ever do realise, after time, that either we are wrong or that it just doesn’t matter to us anymore.
Swallowing our pride in such a way is another one that’s all well and good in principle but is harder to put into practice.
But given the choice of voluntarily stoking the fires of old resentment that we’ve moved on from or dousing the fire to live a life with one less flame of negativity burning in our belly, we know what we’d choose!
It’s not about admitting defeat or taking ownership as the cause of the original issues (because clearly, Steve in Recruitment was the cause!) so much as admitting responsibility of our own happiness and taking ownership of what we allow to affect us.
Letting go of these things isn’t a weakness but a huge strength, it isn’t a shameful thing to back down but a proud thing to grow from.
We’ve lived, we’ve learned & now we’d like to share our real-life reasons why we should let bygones be bygones:
Lock The Door & Throw Away The Key
For the bigger issues like, let’s say, the breakdown of a marriage, an important part of healing is getting closure from the situation that caused us such pain.
Closure can never be achieved as long as we’re clutching on to a grudge that simply acts as a constant reminder of all that hurt, so we should all do ourselves the favour of releasing it.
Once we’ve let go, we will feel an immense sense of relief of the weight that has been lifted from us & we don’t simply “move on” but enthusiastically dive into our future with the courage to take on the world!
Catastrophic Minds Create Catastrophised Situations
When the marriage above broke down because of that fling he had, we naturally hold the rivalry against that harlot who purposely threw herself at a married man with intentions of directly ruining your life.
When, even though we don’t want to think about the simple facts, what actually happened was a single woman had had a few too many drinks after a bad spell of relationships and she wanted a bit of fun with a man who she made a connection with, without a single thought of what was going on behind the scenes with him.
It’s only natural that we catastrophise the painful parts of our life but these dramatic scenes that replay within our grudge are not our truths so we just need to turn them off; re-watching their affair with more malice added in our mind each time is doing us no good at all so let it go.
There’s Already Enough On Our Plate
Simply put, we’ve got more important things to think about in our present than the things that have long since been and gone.
We all like to think that our past made us into the strong, caring and the outright badass person we are today but the one thing more important than what made us is what makes us.
Instead of dwelling on what we were or had, make the most of what we are & what we have.
Especially when what we “have” is a plateful of issues – letting go of that grudge means we have one less problem to solve.
Cutting Off Our Nose To Spite Our Face
We’ve all heard our parents use the phrase & it’s a cringe-y one to use but bearing a grudge after something that has already passed truly is a case of cutting our nose off to spite our face.
This loosely translates to us foolishly choosing to continue a one-sided rivalry over being the bigger person, forgiving the issue & moving on.
It’s easy to spot such foolishness in others (because hindsight!) but not so much in ourselves.
So, take a step back and assess our situations to make sure we’re not falling into – or putting ourselves into – that trap of resentment.
We All Change
Susan who stole your job promotion has become a much more grown-up person after having children and now understands why we were so upset about promotiongate.
That loose lady your husband fell into bed with has never regretted anything more than that affair and has since settled down with her girlfriend, as the reason she’d had a tough time was because of her own issues accepting her sexuality.
Well, with our new build house, our voluntary work for the local food bank and our tan still fresh from our holiday in the sun, we’re quite frankly doing way better than we ever would’ve done if we’d have taken that promotion or stayed with our ex!
Showing just how much people can ad do change.
And just like people change, our feelings could and should change when it comes to harbouring those emotions from who we used to be.
Happiness doesn’t begin and end in our present.
But letting bygones be bygones, leaving our past in our past, is a helluva way of owning every bit of happiness available to us by throwing away any scrap of unnecessary stress in our life.
Make the most of the positivity around us in our here and now – we’re better than all of that grudge-bearing gubbins that used we used to let define us.