How to Heal By Letting Grudges Go

I was listening to Debbie Ford on Hay House Radio the other day. The topic was, Giving Up Grudges (you can listen to it in the archives) and how to heal. Debbie talked about the costs of holding on to unresolved anger and deep-seated resentments.

I always enjoy listening to Hay House Radio because the programming is so uplifting! Anytime I’m feeling tired, down or lacking in motivation – and I don’t feel like reading a book, I just tune into Hay House Radio for some inspiration.

I have always liked Debbie Ford and this program was very enlightening for me. She was encouraging us to find out what our grudges were about. She suggested that if there were things that were not going the way we wanted in our lives, we might have a buried grudge somewhere in our past. Hmmm, that really made me think.

My Grudge Led to Relapse

I remember that in the year before I left my job, I was working on a big acquisition of a company, plus one of the biggest sales in our history. The owner of the company we were acquiring was a difficult personality and created a lot of stress and conflict for my team and me. For the first time in a long, long time, I really HATED this man. I felt actual hate and I could not shake it. This was also the time that I had a relapse. Interesting, huh?

I felt actual hate and I could not shake it
What I did at that time, was turn the hate back onto myself — it cost me a lot to hold onto that grudge. I beat myself up and I felt so not in control of the situation. At the time, I was working with a business coach – and she asked me – what lesson is he bringing into your life? That question really opened my eyes because I realized that the situation with the company owner reminded me of some family dynamics growing up. This man was unpredictable and created problems – my team and I constantly had to overcompensate for him in the sales process, causing long hours and lost sleep. I was right back to that feeling of being out of control of my situation and living with unpredictability as a child.

Starting To Let Go

Realizing this connection freed me from the stress of the acquisition & dealing with this man. I felt lighter just from the recognition and I was able to see the silver lining of the situation – which was that it prompted me to leave my corporate job that I was ready to give up anyway. It allowed me to move on to my dream work and life more quickly – probably 5 years earlier than I had planned. I was also able to forgive my family members for some of the unpredictability that caused me so much tension and fear as a child.

Finally Letting Go

I had myself a little anger celebration…
But grudges are funny in that they can sneak up at odd times and remind you that you haven’t truly let them go! This happened to me recently when I thought of that man and felt negative about him. Where did that come from? I am so much happier in my new life and work, so why would I still hold anger toward him? This was when I reminded myself that he was the catalyst for allowing me to meet my dreams now. However, I think this was my mistake: I didn’t allow myself to really ACCEPT that it was okay for me to be angry at him. I thought being angry at him was “not right” and after all, didn’t I get what I wanted in the end?

In fact, it doesn’t matter if everything works out in the end, what he did was still wrong. And it is okay for me to feel that it was wrong – and it’s okay for me to feel angry. So I had myself a little anger celebration & really let it go! It was wonderful!

Hidden Grudges – Are You Beating Yourself Up?

Debbie actually did this with a caller on the show. The woman said she always beat herself up, always felt less than. Underneath was a resentment she was carrying. Debbie suggested she write an angry letter telling the man she resented why she was angry – pouring all her anger into the letter. Then, rather than sending the letter, Debbie told her to do a ritual where she ripped it up, burned it or whatever she needed to in order to release those feelings – to let them go. In this way, the woman could really wallow in her anger – really accept it, really express herself – and then release.

Your Actions

How would it feel to do this in your own life? What’s happening in your life that you are upset about? If you are beating yourself up, you probably have a grudge buried deeply down inside. Is there a deep-seated resentment or anger underneath? Really dig deep, go back as far as you can to find out.

If you do find someone you are holding a grudge against, Debbie recommends a few questions to ask yourself:
  • If you have a grudge, find out what it’s about. When did it start? Who is it about?
  • What does it cost you, to hold the grudge?
  • Is it possible to love someone, even if you don’t get along?
  • Can you love someone who betrayed you?
  • Do you have any control over what someone else does?
  • What can you do to let go of your grudges so you can get on with your life?
Some additional tips from Debbie:
  • Realize that sometimes, humans are mean to each other.
  • You are allowed to say: That’s not okay, what you did to me! Even if you only write it in an unsent letter or acknowledge it to yourself.
  • You have to be able to let it go and acknowledge it.
  • We all know how to beat ourselves up – or even project our own darkness (negativity, anger) upon others – but we have to dedicate our lives to something bigger than that.
  • It’s okay to be honest, vulnerable and wrong.
More From Hay House
  • And as a final note, from Dawn Breslin of Zestful Living: Every day, ask yourself,
    “How can I love myself even more tomorrow?”
That’s a question we might all benefit from!


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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!