How holding a grudge affects your health?
“Holding a grudge”, a phrase that comes from the Old French word grouchier which means “to grumble”. The word is related to the modern English word “grouch”. And German and Old English also have synonyms that mean “to complain”, “to wail”, “to grumble” and “to cry out”.
Holding a grudge fills you with anger, rage, bitterness, resentment and negative feelings towards someone who has hurt you. A grudge can sometimes grow out of pure perception too. Someone may or may not mean any harm to you. But because you believe someone is against you or doesn’t stand by you, this also develops a grudge.
Grudges thrive when people are not ready to let go of something that has already happened. Sometimes, people are simply not willing to forgive. Or to say, they are not ready emotionally to let bygones be bygones and move forward in life.
These feelings of aggressiveness and bitterness don’t grow overnight. It happens when the person is deeply hurt. More often than not, this hurt comes from people we least expect it. And these are the times when hopes and expectations of doing the right thing by your side don’t end well. They seed negative feelings as time passes.
How holding a grudge affects you in life?
Holding onto such negativity for too long never ends well for you too. Because, even if the other person has let it go, you clinging to those unpleasant emotions affects you in the long run. Every time you and the other person are under the same roof, you tend to relive the moments that have sprouted such hatred within you.
Whether your intentions are pure or not, the feeling of bitterness stays for as long you hold it. Grudges have the power to hurt you equally as the person who inspired them in you. They hold us back from seeing past the hurt and living a fulfilled life.
Cultivating grudges holds us back from healing and freeing ourselves from the hurt. Because even if it is the other person’s deeds that hurt you, you are constantly living the same scenario over and over. This hampers your growth in life.
Why holding a grudge is bad for your health?
People who hold grudges are less capable of forgiveness. Research has found that they had high blood pressure and are more likely to suffer from heart diseases. Constantly reminding yourself of something that has hurt you in the past also affects your immune system. It slows your metabolism and hampers the functioning of your organs.
Holding a grudge against others usually backfires as it affects the quality of your life. Living with a grudge means living with the problem. You don’t seek solutions because the constant reminder of the hurt you felt at first doesn’t allow you to see beyond it.
Even though you lie to yourself and people around you that everything is fine, deep down all of it is falling apart. It is far from fine inside you. It impacts your physical wellbeing.
Harboring grudges creates chronic stress. Hence it leads to adverse physical health effects that include cardiovascular health, digestion, reproduction, sleep, headaches, upset stomach and even asthma. And the anger affects the longevity of your life too.
How holding a grudge affects your mental health?
Holding a grudge can severely impact your mental health in a number of ways. Clinging onto anger multiplies it. This way you create a constant loop of negative feelings for yourself. This loop pushes you to relive the negative instances over and over again. This exposes you more to unpleasant emotions and thoughts. You screw your mindset and gradually your overall well-being.
The loop of frustration you create for yourself leads you to feel more upset and drained out. It makes you feel lonely. Because you are not resolving the problem but only increasing the hurt you feel every day. The constant loop of reliving the incident doesn’t allow the time to do its work, i.e. to heal. Because despite the passage of time. remembering the incident all over again makes you feel it to be more recent.
Holding a grudge leads to a self-inflicted wound as it ultimately exaggerates the experience and makes it more painful for you. All of these increases your risks towards several mental health concerns like anxiety, unwanted aggression, depression, emotional detachment, mood disorders and even self-harm or suicidal attempts. Built-up resentment and unaddressed bitterness make a home for added stress, worry, defensiveness and negativity.
What is the solution to holding a grudge?
Holding a grudge nourishes unhealthy emotional regulation. It makes you blame others and suppress your emotions. The only solution is acceptance of the experience, forgiving the person, letting go of all the negativity and moving on with your life.
Letting go of something that has hurt you so deeply isn’t easy. It is indeed a long and difficult process. But, if it gives you back your peace of mind, it is ultimately worth it. Try some of the mentioned ways to move past the grudge and get your life back on track.
- Stop victimizing yourself: It is not important how the world sees you. It is important how you see yourselves.
To let it go, you first have to let it all in. Feel the pain. Acknowledge and accept it. Instead of questioning why it happened to you, embrace the incident and allow it to let go to move ahead.
- Don’t vilify the person: More often than not miscommunication and misunderstanding are the root cause of such hurtful experiences.
Instead of speaking ill about the other person, talk about it with them. If it was intentional, remove them from your life. If not, try to see things from their perspectives too. Be kind and be a better person.
- Acknowledge what has to be done: Making mistakes is basic human nature. But, evolution and growth are truths of life too.
Now, you must acknowledge if the person is worth giving another chance to stay in your life or you have to forgive them and move on with yours. As important it is to nurture a relationship, it is equally important to know when is the right time to let them go.
This may seem a lot. But, you would agree that we all have been there. We all have been hurt by the people we love. And, forgiving them is the only option. No, it is not for them. It is for our sanity and peace of mind.
Researches show that acceptance and forgiveness cultivates an emotionally stable mindset. They lower stress and promotes healthier well-being and growth.
As someone who has been on both sides: being hurt and hurting someone (unintentionally), I believe there is an abundance of strength in forgiveness. Because a lot of people can complain about life and play the victim card. But not everyone has a big heart to forgive.
When hurt and betrayal come from the people we least expect it from, that is when you hit the rock bottom. And those are the times when you stand at the test of life.
Always remember, you don’t forgive the other person for them. You forgive them for yourselves. And, it doesn’t happen overnight. Holding a grudge is worth nothing. It takes a severe toll on your health and emotions. Nobody needs that kind of negativity around them.
Once you are able to forgive, you are on the path of healing, ready to start a better, grudge-free life. You begin to feel more empowered because you are no more the victim but the hero of your story.