What do you do if you have a spill on your countertop?
You clean it up.
If you carry a grudge, you essentially have a mess on the figurative countertop of your mind and it is spoiling your beautiful kitchen and your ability to cook healthy meals!
Here’s a simple step you can take to do something about this.
What I am about to share with you has no boundaries. It cuts across cultures, languages, religions and ethnic identities.
When I was teaching at London Business School an average double section would have representatives from twenty or more countries so I know whereof I speak.
Charlotte is a good example.
I was forming groups for an exercise and she gently protested Shelley being with her. “She is thoughtless and rude,” she said. “I don’t think she should be in the class at all.”
I probed deeper.
It turned out that they had gone to the same school and had lost touch for years before they found themselves back together in business school.
Decades earlier, in second or third grade, a group of girls had laughed at a colorful pinafore that Charlotte had worn to school. Shelley was among them.
I probed deeper.
No, they had not interacted since school. They had not spoken in business school.
Charlotte, by now somewhat embarrassed by her response, acknowledged that she was being ‘guided’ by an ancient memory and perhaps needed a course correction.
But we are all Charlotte.
Look at any interaction you have with a person who is an ongoing part of your life. Do you have an expectation of how this will go based on your previous interactions?
More precisely, on the basis of your interpretation of your past interactions?
Look at the grudges you hold. They may be small. You may think them insignificant. But each is a silken thread and many of them can bind you down.
How do you let go of the grudges you hold?
First be aware of them.
When you meet someone with whom you have a troubled history, see clearly that what happened in the past is coloring your expectation of what will happen.
Recognize that it is not what happened in the past but what you think happened in the past that is coloring your expectation.
Then play a game.
Imagine that this is the first time you are meeting this person and be open to whatever happens.
Consciously determine that you will feed the dog.
Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.