Happiness & Grudges

Despite the dubious math involved, I’m on a quest to kick my happiness factor up a few points using a list from Mindful magazine. Really have been noticing the little joys that surround me but will refrain from mentioning all of them because that would just be bragging.

So, DITCHING GRUDGES was an interesting exercise. I made a list of all the people I held grudges against. They are usually front and center somewhere, so I didn’t have to think long or hard about it. 14 people, some of whom I have held grudges against for several decades. Nobody holds a grudge like I do. I know this. I’m not proud of it. But I am trying now to just stop it already.

14 isn’t that many. I figured the number of people who have done me wrong would be much higher. I have likely forgotten some folks. These others on the list–I’ve done a lot of work on “forgiving” each and every one of them. Many of them more than once. Forgiving works, for awhile. Then up comes the thought “If he hadn’t done that to me…” or “If she had only….” and I start thinking of the ways this person made my life so difficult and sad. And the grudge is reborn, like a weed in spring.

And you know how stubborn weeds are when you try to pull them out at the roots. But I did a good mental pruning of my life’s garden, and all the grudges have been burned like bad bridges. I learned a few interesting  things along the way. Like this: every person I held a grudge against had disrespected me in some major way. And they never apologized. Not even did they fail to say sorry, they pretended as if there was no need to do so, and in some cases, projected the blame back on me.

Photo on 6-22-15 at 7.28 AM

So, yeah, I can feel that righteous grudge juice stirring. But no. Down the drain it goes. I’m done with that. What else I discovered: anyone formerly on the list who has passed did not make the last list. (And it will be my last list, if not my last forgiveness session.) It must be impossible to hold a grudge against a dead man. That surprised me. And gave me faith. In exactly what, I don’t know. The power of death to transcend and erase all the silly grudges of life? Or how about: What really matters at the end is not the grudges you hold but that letting go of the ugly stuff is an act of grace. In my case, bestowed by unknown angels, because I did no “work” to release those grudges as I am having to do with the living ones.

The “work” for me meant a long session of thought and writing and forgiving. When I feel a grudging thought pop up (and a few have since I started this grudge-begone business) I just think “I forgive you, and I forgive me too, for not being able to let this go before now.” Quick and effective. I can feel the happiness increase as the weight of those grudges slides off my shoulders.

Photo on 6-22-15 at 7.33 AM

Another lesson learned while drawing up the (now extinct) grudge list, a few people I really love who hurt me bad were nowhere on the list. Probably we had an unpleasant verbal altercation or six. Difference was, those people loved me back, we talked things through, we made it okay. Turns out I’m pretty easy as far as grudges go. That delighted me just a little. I thought I was a way bigger bitch. Just don’t hurt me or hate me then leave me hanging on.

Truth is, haters gonna hate, I’m not always gonna be everybody’s best beloved, and nobody says I gotta hang with that grudge. I can be like a breeze and just blow it off. Done!

Happiness tip #3 is GET MOVING and I don’t mean out of town, though that might help some people. I am still banned from most exercise while my knee repairs itself, but I have been doing some easy floor stretches and other things that don’t involve my precious left knee.

Happiness tip #4 is GIVE THANKS and I know I can use some help in that department. Got any good ways to give thanks? Please let me know, in comments or email or phone call! I’ll post whatever I come up with in a couple of days:)


  1. Always a barrel full of wisdom, honesty, genuine love for others and just plain goodness. Love this Cynthia it got me ‘a thinkin’ as you always do. Hope your knee gets stronger soon. Get yourself in the pool. I know it’s a pain, literally and takes effort but I think your the lady for the job. Best wishes J

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have just managed to do what many others have not been able to do…you made me feel lucky!
    For I do not hold grudges anymore…and I should, for I have been treated appallingly by more people than I care to think about. But I decided to stop hating a while ago, for it was literally killing me. After my heart attacks, they said it was down to stress, and it had to stop.
    So I did…


    1. Anita, I’m so glad to have reminded you of something loving you are doing for yourself. It was a good exercise for me…that holding grudges thing feels like a permanent part of the personality to me sometimes, like “that’s just how I am” but I am very glad to know that it can be dropped for GOOD successfully so thanks for telling me. I’m so sorry about the heart attacks. Hoping you are all better now. Pleased to know Jaye is helping you get those books out! Was thrilled to read the interview with you yesterday and learn more about them and you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sigh. I’m married to a man who is holding a mighty grudge right now against someone I love no matter what, and he will not let go. It’s making my heart hurt. Letting go is something we have to do for ourselves, right? Timely words, Cindy…timely words.


  4. I love hoe you wrote this and sprinkled the words with photos. You crack me up. Well done on the letting go front too.

    Gratitude or, as I prefer to call it, appreciation, is a practice. I work on it. Letting go of grudges would seem to be a great start on the appreciation state of mind.

    I’ve never been a grudge holder. I think it’s because I don’t have a great memory. I think people with great memories might be more prone. I suspect you have a very good memory?


    1. Haha Nicci, well first thanks from one writer to another on the words working today. And I have an excellent memory but only when someone does something rude or mean to me. Or even just ignores me. Like 15 years ago, I was rushing around Xmas shopping and I ran in a store after a guy so I didn’t have to re-open the door and when we’d both swooped through he looked at me and said “thank you” but I missed the irony and said “you’re welcome” — I was distracted. But I backtracked and realized he believed I should have thanked him for opening the door for himself and for me scooting in while it was still easing closed. It wasn’t like he held it for me. He opened it for himself. I stewed about that for years. As you see, I still get a bit irate about his nutty idea that I was supposed to thank him because he opened a door for himself. LOL. I’m letting it go. Honest…


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