Holding grudges may seem fair. After all, someone hurt us through words or actions. But what we fail to understand is, at the end of the day we are not only hurting ourselves but our families, as well. Grudges only bring down our spirits and cause us to live with unnecessary anger. Our children will absorb what they see and begin to believe holding grudges is proper behavior. They, too, will begin to hold grudges toward classmates, cousins or anyone whom they believe have offended them. By holding grudges, we are setting a negative example for our children.
I thought holding on to grudges was a form of revenge. As a young child, I held grudges against each bully. In my mind, I was getting back at them for teasing me. It was difficult to watch them go about their business without a care in the world while I was suffering. It took me some time to realize the bullies had no idea of my frustrations and much less the load of anger I carried every day until early adulthood. My mother never portrayed anger toward others. She always taught her children about forgiveness. But as a child, I believed forgiveness was silly. After many talks with my mother, I finally understood the meaning of forgiving others. And even though there were no verbal apologies, I did forgive them in my mind and heart.
Teaching a child how to let go of grudges could be a challenging task, but it’s important that they learn the act of forgiveness. Our children deserve to live a fulfilling life free of burden and anger.
Produce a list of grudges
It has been said writing is therapeutic. Therefore, help your child to write down on a piece of paper the grudges they hold. It could be one grudge or nine — it doesn’t matter how many. Have the child write them all down.
Once your child has created a list of grudges, have him read each one and help him try to understand why he holds on to the grudge. Forgiving is easier said than done, but it is a good start to moving forward. As a family, you should find it in your hearts to forgive so you can live life to the fullest.
Let your child know that forgiving, letting go of the grudge and moving forward doesn’t mean he was wrong for being hurt and upset. We all face hurt and pain throughout life. As a result, we feel anger. However, it’s in our best interest if we learn how to let go of the grudge sooner than later. The less anger we carry, the more joy we welcome into our lives.
Forgiving and letting go is never painless, but it is worth the effort. Chances are the person you are upset with has no idea of your emotions. Grudges hold us back from moving forward in life. Let’s teach our children forgiveness and allow them to strive for a healthier and happier life.
Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.