Letting go of grudges
This activity is an amalgamation of forgiveness and gratitude activities and it aims to help us feel better after experiencing a conflict situation. I suggest you start by reflecting on small conflict situations, so that you can get used to the process.
Holding grudges against someone hurts us often even more than letting go. Letting go of grudges is not about letting them off the hook, forgetting about what they have done, or pretending it never existed. Instead, it is about taking the power back and allowing for neutral, or even positive feelings to replace the initial negative feelings we experience.
Here is how you can do it:
Take a piece of paper and write down what you are grateful for in relation to the person with whom you have experienced conflict. Then, draw a few circles on a paper and in each one of them, briefly describe what hurt you about what they have done. Then, write a sentence or a word describing what you are grateful for about this situation. This may include some of the things that the person said to you, even small things initially seemed insignificant, but from which you could learn something new.
After completing this activity, reflect on the following:
- are you able to see your situation differently now? If so, in what way?
- are you more ready to forgive?
- are you willing to reconcile, if needs be?
This exercise may help you replace your negative emotions with some neutral or positive emotions. However, it may also help you learn from the situation (grateful part of activity) and make new meaning of it.
Reivich, K. (2004). Letting go of grudges. Assignment instructions for M.E.P. Seligman’s Authentic Happiness Programme. University of Pennsylvania.