Is Holding On To A Grudge Affecting Your Life? Simple Tips On How To Let Go And Move On

June 19, 2024

Holding a grudge is one of life’s most common problems. Many people who have experienced bad relationship breakups, family issues or friendship breakdowns continue to hold a grudge long after the dust has settled.

According to Elizabeth Jane, holding a grudge is not only a negative way to move forward through life, it can have a damaging impact on your overall health and wellness. It can also hinder you from experiencing higher quality, empowering relationships and opportunities.

Elizabeth Jane, respected wellbeing and mindfulness keynote speaker, relationships’ coach and mentor, celebrated artist and author of Amazon best-seller ‘Free and First – Unlocking Your Ultimate Life’, shares some tips to help people let go of grievances and resentment.

Jane experienced a sudden and traumatic divorce after 25 years of marriage and during her difficult and life changing journey of rebuilding her life and finding her new path, she journaled the process translating her insights and learnings into a highly sought-after self-help book.

Jane now speaks all over the world and shares her insights and tools on how to survive and overcome difficult and challenging life experiences as well as how to find joy, and in the process, rediscover yourself.

“How do you let go of a grudge? It can be difficult when you feel so wronged and let down, but it is essential for your own peace of mind and health to find a way forward. You may not realise it but a grudge can hold you back by keeping you in the past and in a negative frame of mind,” Jane said.

“There are some key steps you can take to help you move past a grudge. Moving past a grudge can be challenging but is crucial for personal wellbeing and healthy relationships.”

Jane has outlined some tools and tips to help people let go of a grudge.

Acknowledge how you are feeling 

“The first step is to recognise and accept that you are holding a grudge. Understand the emotions involved, such as anger, hurt or disappointment. Acknowledging these feelings is the first step toward processing them,” Jane said.

“This is very important. Own how you are feeling.”

Understand the impact

“Reflect on how holding a grudge affects your mental and physical health, relationships and overall happiness. Recognising the negative impact can motivate you to let go,” Jane said.

“For example, when you think of this person, you start to feel angry and your blood pressure goes up. This affects your health and wellness and how you are feeling towards life at the time. Your low mood not only makes you feel low but can attract more low vibe challenges into your life.”

Empathise with the other person

“Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Understanding their motives, circumstances or struggles can help you develop empathy and soften your resentment,” Jane said.

“Everyone carries scars and is impacted by experiences. This can affect how they perceive life and behave. This does not excuse the impact, but it may help to explain their behaviour.”

Communicate your feelings calmly

“If possible and appropriate, have an open and honest conversation with the person involved. Expressing your feelings can provide closure and may help resolve misunderstandings,” Jane said.

“The alternatives of containing your feelings within, or projecting them onto the other person, shaming and blaming, are not healthy for you or the person involved.”

Live in the now

“Live in the now and concentrate on the present rather than dwelling on past grievances. Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises, can help you stay grounded in the present moment,” Jane said.

“I listen to Today FM, this is my life radio that keeps me focused on the present. There is no point dwelling on the past, or thinking about what could have been, your opportunity in life is to seize the moment. Holding a grudge can stop you from doing this, which is why it is important to let it go.”

Practise forgiveness

“Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning the other person’s behaviour but rather freeing yourself from the burden of resentment. It is a process that takes time and effort. Remind yourself that forgiving is for your benefit, not necessarily for the other person. Even if it means faking it until you make it.” Jane said.

“This is a very powerful skill and gives you the freedom to centre into the present moment and move forward.”

Talk to someone

“If you find it particularly difficult to move past a grudge, consider seeking the help of a therapist or counsellor. They can provide tools and strategies to process your emotions and let go of negative feelings,” Jane said.

Engage in positive activities

“Focus on positive things. Redirect your energy into activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Pursue hobbies, spend time with loved ones or engage in volunteer work. Positive experiences can help shift your focus away from negative feelings,” Jane said.

“Research shows that by doing this, you not only lift your mood, but you experience health and wellbeing benefits such as reduced blood pressure too.”

Set boundaries

“If the person who hurt you is still in your life, setting healthy boundaries can prevent future conflicts and protect your wellbeing. This might include limiting interactions or clearly communicating your needs and expectations,” Jane said.

Journal your thoughts

“Writing about your feelings can be therapeutic. It allows you to process your emotions and gain insight into the reasons behind your grudge and what boundaries need to be set in future. Reflecting on your entries over time can also show you how your feelings evolve,” Jane said.

Be kind to yourself

“Practising self-compassion is a very powerful tool. Be kind to yourself as you navigate through the process of letting go. Acknowledge that it’s normal to feel hurt and that healing takes time,” Jane said.

“Also try to reflect and catch yourself out when you self attack or blame, shame or doubt yourself. Choose to replace these negative feelings with positive affirmations such as ‘I am doing my best and choose to let these fear-based thoughts go and see love.

“You will make progress and then have days where you feel like you have gone backwards. This is completely OK and part of the process of moving forward. Don’t be hard on yourself.  Make sure you reward yourself as you step forward.”

Focus on personal growth

“Use the experience as an opportunity for personal growth. You may even get to the place of being grateful for the lesson. Reflect on what you have learned about yourself and how you can apply these insights to future situations,” Jane said.

Jane emphasised that by taking these steps, you can work towards releasing the grudge, improving your emotional wellbeing and fostering healthier relationships. It may be difficult to let others into your life and build trust while you are still so focused on past issues. Allowing yourself to let go of heavy emotions such as non forgiveness, grief and anger by having empowered conversations and setting boundaries allows you to move forward to a higher sense of wellbeing and peace which will help you to open yourself up to wonderful opportunities.