Remember that conflict you were involved in and got really hurt, disappointed, angry, betrayed, fill in the blank? Of course you remember. You’ve never really let it go. How do I know? Because it keeps showing up. Not in the actual person, but in every reminder hidden in your subconscious.
I don’t have to tell you that by using the data stored within it, your subconscious does its job of making sure that you react exactly the way you have been programmed every time you think about that person or conflict. Keyword – programmed. It sounds more nebulous than it actually is. We are all programmed by our experiences. Not everything sticks, but certainly the continuous messages and standout experiences do.
We all know how stuck that grudge is in our conscious mind, especially when we hear about, read about, see, think about or interact with that person we are holding that space for. Oh yes, a grudge means we are holding space for them in our lives. I bet that is the very opposite of what you intended when you decided to hold the grudge. Yes, you decided and make no mistake, your subconscious mind was paying attention. That’s why the grudge is getting in your way. You think that the grudge is only for that person, but it’s actually for any situation or person that reminds your subconscious of the original person or situation whether you want to react or not.
Essentially conflict is seldom clean. We are often recreating scenes from previous conflicts in our lives and grudges are strong forces of energy that hold the previous information in place in our minds and bodies. Physical reactions take place, you know the ones, heat in the back of your neck, stomach churning, heart beating quicker and hands shaking. We’ve all been there and will return again.
So, there you are going on with your life convinced that the only time that you get side-tracked by this grudge is when you think about them or have to interact with them. But the truth is you are influenced by that grudge more regularly than you think. Let’s look at Allison who had a huge argument with her ex-boyfriend about her weight and shortly after that he broke up with her. She swore she would never forget or forgive him and has an Oscar worthy speech prepared should he ever darken her doorstep or cellphone again. But according to her, it was just him that made her feel
that kind of deep anger.
What Allison didn’t know, but found out was that she had reactions to other people (co-workers, one person she supervised), other situations (conversations that had phrases, remnants of similarities to her ex) especially if the conversation or conflict involved the mention of weight or judgment or sudden breakup. She noticed she was either more agitated or withdrawn once she started really paying attention to the conflicts she was involved in and how she reacted in them.
The time she was taking to ruminate about these conflicts or to go after the people in bigger ways than the situations called for surprised her. She blamed it on too much conflict in her life and how much she disliked conflict. She never thought to look at the role that holding the grudge was playing in those conflicts.
At least Allison knew she still held a grudge, some of us are not so in touch, like me. I knew I held a grudge against someone for years and worked to get rid of it through forgiveness. A recent conversation with my sister about this person sent me in to a place of anger and disgust just talking about her. Wow! That really threw me. That’s how strong a grudge is. Residue can remain even when we do the work.
So, why do the work? Because without it we are compromising our other relationships by being influenced by whatever the subconscious is storing for us. Because if we look around at our world, grudge holding is the undercurrent of our current conflict status.
So, how long are you going to hold yours? Our grudges are getting in the way of our peace. If you are ready to explore yours, then here’s a first step. I’ll have more next week.
Ask yourself, “Where else is this showing up in my life?” Start there and do an honest assessment. It will take some time of really noticing and observing and truth telling, but your peace, our peace, world peace is worth it.