Saturday, February 13, 2010

How to deal with someone who holds a grudge...

A friend Ms. J. asked me for help with someone
who still holds a grudge about something very small
even after many years.

Below is my response to her.
But life is like a mirror!

Just this morning,
I was writing a response to an email list
to  what Mr. Q. wrote (not his real initial)
I remembered a big story about
betrayal, banishment, and censorship
where I was the victim and he was the evil other.
A ton of old anger, resentment, and animosity came up.

So here is my reply to Ms. J.
about her friend with a grudge.
Since I seem to also be a person with a grudge,
I'm trying out these techniques to see if if I can heal
all the old resentments in my life.


Dear J----,

You can't do anything to change them.
You can only change yourself.
Sometimes this can change the situation.

Here are five different things you can look at and try out.
I would suggest not to try them all at once.

Just look them all over, then try one for a few days or a week,
and see if the situation changes....

  1. You can try Ho'oponopono, from Polynesia:

    Basically, consider the situation, and the other person, and say,
    "I'm sorry. I forgive you. I am grateful for this experience."
    Try this for 10min. each morning.
    Yes 10 min. can seem like forever!!
    Spirituality often takes self-discipline and effort.
    People say this technique is HIGHLY effective.
    I have seen it work miracles in my own life.

  2. Another thing to try is the Buddhist Four Immeasurables.
    It's basically something you begin your day by saying
    a fixed number of times (try 3-5):

    • Metta (Loving Kindness)
      "May (this person) be happy"
    • Karuna (Compassion)
      "May (this person) be free from suffering".
    • Mudita (Sympathetic Joy)
      "I have joy when I see (this person) is happy".
    • Upeksha (Calm Abiding, Balanced Indifference).
      "Today, I will have a still mind, no matter what happens,
      like a clear, reflective lake without ripples."

  3. Another thing to consider is: Are you reading the situation correctly?
    Sometimes we start out with expectations that the other person
    holds a grudge. Then, we see something small, and say to ourselves,
    "See! They still do hold a grudge! After all these years, and for something so small!!" 
    And then your outward affect changes, which they then read, and it's like gasoline on a fire.

    The solution here is to cultivate a sense that all of their resentment is gone,
    and to purify yourself from any seeds of resentment which you still hold.

    Try saying each morning:
    "Today, I will release all past resentment. I am happy and free!!!"

  4. Another thing to look at is... what does it matter what they think about you?
    A grudge sounds like their problem, not yours!!
    What are your needs in this situation, or from this other person?
    Is this other person an integral part of your life?
    A relative? A house mate? A partner? A boss? A professor?
    Do you have needs which this other person must help you meet?
    Or, can you just calmly walk away regardless of their grudge?

  5. Another approach is NVC based.
    I know you say the problem happened years ago
    and wasn't serious, but do you know what kind of an
    impact it had on the other person

    So NVC would suggest that you give them empathy or deep listening.
    Find out what their needs are. Mostly people just want
    acknowledgment for past pain. People want to be heard.
    Marshall Rosenberg says that every problem resolves itself
    in 20 min. after both sides can hear each other's needs.

    I have found this is hard to accomplish without an NVC-trained
    mediator to help keep things on track. We have several local
    people trained in this work, Vera Scroggins, Mickey Juddkovics, and myself.
    Any of us would be happy to help.

OK, hope this helps!

Will Huston          
Binghamton NY             Phone: 607-321-7846

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