WordPress continues to suggest possible blog topics (I enjoy this!) Some look interesting; others I’ve done already; yet others make my toes curl in horror! The latest one was, “What’s the longest grudge you’ve ever held? How long do you stay angry at someone or something? Why do you think we hold our grudges?”
I don’t want to describe any of my actual grudges, but I had a thought that although we eagerly forgive and move on, forgetting is quite another thing. We are taught that it’s a good thing to ‘forgive and forget’, and maybe most of the time we do, but some things are burned in our memories and continue to shape our lives.
In a somewhat less than Pollyannaish way, we may be mistaken about how negatively we were impacted by something. If we were done out of a job or promotion that we really wanted, our loss might have led to a better path in life, or to our meeting someone we otherwise wouldn’t have met. But to us the original sin remains… it was an an injustice, and will be remembered as such.
We may bear a grudge against someone without realising how much he/she has been hurt by us in turn. We don’t know everything that goes on in other people’s minds, so sometimes all we remember is our own pain.
In The Full Cupboard of Life (from the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels by Alexander McCall Smith), Mma Ramotswe said she believed in forgiveness. “Why, she asked herself, why keep a wound open when forgiveness can close it?”
Though I remember being confused by the way Mma Ramotswe approaches forgiveness… She forgives people and moves on, but cuts them out of her life. That’s something I can’t square with my notion of forgiveness. Perhaps it’s just another way of saying “I forgive but I never forget.”
I meant to say there are REASONS why we remember — we must try to avoid similar experiences in the future. We were always told pain has a reason… to stop us doing something damaging like putting our hand in the fire.
Most grudges should not be allowed to affect future relations, except where they safeguard us from future harm… they do have their uses. But we should not be TOO self-protective… if we remove people from our email lists for every slight — real or imagined — none of us would have any friends.
Mum says, “life is too short… the only acceptable reason one could have to end a friendship is boredom.” With our Grudgometers alive and ticking, I don’t think any of us will ever be bored.