Anyone who has seen my Pinterest profile knows I am an avid collector of quotes. I have a whole board dedicated to quotes on disappointment because it is a part of life, and engages our emotions at times in ways we may not always be proud of. One of the quotes on my Disappointment Board has been attributed to Buddha and speaks eloquently of the effects of holding a grudge against someone who has done you wrong ~ "Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
The older and wiser I become, the more I see the damage bitterness and anger can do in a person's life. It drains the joy from them, you can see it in their face, you can see it in how they look at the world, you can see it in their relationships with others, and you can see it in the way others avoid them when they start their dialogue on how wronged they've been by someone and the world in general. It dessicates their soul and dries up their heart and spoils their relationships.
THE FRUIT OF BITTERNESS
The trouble is that bitterness spreads inside you, it colours your thinking and it breeds self pity and blame. You can lose perspective and turn it into a much bigger issue than it originally was. Bitterness is the antithesis to happiness. You can't live in a world that you believe has done you wrong and be happy at the same time.
I've met people who have held grudges for decades, the person they are angry at can even be dead, and yet that bitterness lingers and they feel like the situation is still unresolved. It is too late for that other person to offer an apology or to right the wrong and yet the pain still eats away at the "victim" - who is more a victim of their own choosing than a victim of the original transgression.
Holding a grudge harms you far more than it harms the other person. They are going about their life either oblivious to the hurt or not bothered by their actions. Whether they intended to cause pain or not, they have moved on and you are left re-hashing the hurt over and over again - trapped by that event and stuck.
APOLOGIES (OR NOT)
Another saying that really hit home to me at a time when someone caused me a great deal of hurt was ~ "Life becomes easier when you accept the apology you never got." There is no point waiting around for an apology before you can feel better and move on. Sometimes the apology comes, and sometimes it doesn't - you can't let that determine your happiness. People are people, flawed and frail - they hurt us and sometimes we hurt them - it's life in all its grittiness. They may not even realize the hurt they caused and if they don't know then they can't apologize. On the other hand, pointing it out to them isn't necessarily the best way to handle it - you might feel better but have you just shifted your pain onto someone else who didn't necessarily deserve it?
I've met people who have felt the need to tell me when I've hurt their feelings. They are fragile souls who are delicate and far more easily offended than I gave them credit for. Rather than accepting that what was said wasn't intended to hurt or be interpreted in a hurtful way, they choose to become martyrs.
The next step with martyrdom is to share with you the pain they feel you caused them - in doing so, they unload their grievances and leave you with guilt and an unwillingness to engage with them again in case you tread on their toes.
LET GO AND MOVE ON
We can all be insensitive at times, if we acknowledge that and decide to give someone the benefit of the doubt, we can move forward. Even if the other person is a troll or a snake, move on - leave them behind, don't engage, don't try to extricate an apology. Let it go and find a happier place. There are so many lovely, nice, kind, happy people in the world - seek them out. Share your life with them and let them share theirs with you.
Happiness attracts people - you don't need the nasty ones, forgive them and move on. Wish them well and forget them, you don't have to forget the damage they caused - learn from it, but don't let it define you. It makes us wiser to have dealt with the less attractive members of society and not to have stooped to their level. We're so much better than that, and ultimately I we win because we're not consumed by it all.