Why Are You Still Angry?
“You are doing it again”, I told my friend last night while we were dining out with a bunch of college friends.
“Doing what?” she asked.
“Crib about past”, I told her. “You just keep iterating about your suffering and hurt in front of everyone whenever you meet him because you just cannot grow past it.”
She was dating a guy from our group and he broke her heart by having an affair. She never could come out of it and whenever we met, she would mention about that incident and how much she suffered. Initially it was ok, we empathized with her, but after sometime when it became a routine story, we just couldn’t take it anymore. I was her friend and I cared about her, so last night when she started, I interrupted her and asked her to stop. She realized that I was right.
Holding grudges is very common. We stop talking to our neighbours, friends, family members over disputes which have left a dent in our hearts. Years and years go by, the memories of what caused the argument fades but still we cannot grow big enough to forgive and let go of the grudge. Whenever we will get an opportunity, we will cry and crib about the past.
It’s hard to leave the past behind. Worst, thinking about it in present makes the bad memory stronger and stronger making it even impossible to forget and move on. Often we hold on to the grudges so tightly that it shapes the way we look at our present.
I met a couple who had been together for the past 15 years. They loved each other a lot but they also had their share of bumps. As time passed, the bumps became huge roadblocks and every argument they had ended up with a mention of those bad incidents. The grudges were so huge that smallest of the issues reminded them of the past and eventually widened the gap between their relationship. A constant reminder of the sufferings never let them move beyond the past.
Nearly each one of us has been hurt by the actions or words of someone. Perhaps your mother criticized your work, your colleague undermined you in front of the boss or your partner had an affair. The wounds such as these can leave you with deep rooted feelings of anger, bitterness and sometimes even vengeance.
I have met many people in my life who were terribly abused either in their childhood or young adulthood. Some of these people remained stuck in their anger and hurt. The anger was not just a mere grudge, but in some cases their lives revolved completely around how they were wronged and mistreated by others. They never could really come above it.
What happens to us in past is not something which we can change but we can overcome and get past the hurt. I personally feel that this is where forgiveness comes into picture. But when I asked my friend why she cannot just forget it, she simply rolled her eyes in dismay, “If I forget and forgive, it would mean that I’m accepting what happened to me was right and I would be considered as weak”. I assured her, “Forgiveness is not an act of cowards; in fact it takes a lot of courage to get past the anger and resentment”.
Forgiveness doesn’t come easy, you need to make a constant effort to overcome the negative feelings. The start could be by trying to see other person’s perspective or speaking to them openly about it. Sometimes a frank discussion or a sincere apology is what one needs for closure.
I once had a bad experience with one of my friends. We did not speak with each other for almost 10 years after that. One day out of blue, he sent me a friend request on Facebook. I immediately replied back, “Do you think this is some kind of a joke? If you tell me that how sorry you are for being a jerk and for hurting your feelings, then probably we can be friends again”. He replied back with a true heartfelt apology and it became easy to forgive him. We are now close friends and we often joke about the incident of past.
When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward. The choice is yours!