The difference between supressing and genuinely letting it go

This post is about holding onto a grudge when you feel someone has done you wrong.

I think everyone has had a moment where they wanted to tell someone to just let. it. go. We all know what it means: forget about it, get over it, move on. Stop bugging me about it.

Of course we’re all upset for a time when someone wrongs us but there is a time where the anger and self indulgent self pity needs to stop.

I once knew a guy who was still wrapped up in his bitter hurt over his girlfriend who broke up with him 5 years before in high school. It is painful to lose your first love but there comes a time where dude, you really need to get over it.

Not for anyone else’s sake but for your own.

Quite often people will convince themselves they are over something/one when in reality all they have done is suppress the feelings.

The difference between suppressing a grievance and genuinely letting it go can be explained in two stages (let’s stay on the theme of breaking up with someone):

1) When you THINK you’re over a person. When the person who hurt you is not around you genuinely convince yourself your fine. But you start actively avoiding going to any situation where you might run into them. You don’t want to have to deal with the feelings and emotions that will resurface if you see them because you haven’t really moved on. You’re just avoiding any kind of confrontation so you can convince yourself you’re done.

2) When you’re truly over them. AKA the random epiphany moment. I love this moment. It can happen anywhere – one friend of mine experienced this whilst waiting at a bus stop – and it appears unexpectedly, in quiet acceptance. A literal ‘huh’ moment, where you suddenly realise you genuinely don’t care anymore. Time actually worked and at some unknown point you let that person go.

Of course, this situation isn’t solely for break-ups. Being bullied at school, childhood sibling rivalry, that person who screwed you over at work, any situation where you felt wronged can plant this seed of resentment.

A couple years ago I was at a point where I was cocooned in resentment from grievances years old. Friends and family told me many times I should get over it but I didn’t want to. I reveled in my anger, my open disgust of those who had mistreated me. I believed that if I let it go, I was somehow losing. As if by holding people accountable in my head I was punishing them. Let me tell you, I was not.

It wasn’t until I nearly crashed my car during a rant that I realised how stupid holding onto my grievance was. It was a penny drop moment. Why was I still pent up about this? Was I helping myself in any way? No. Not even slightly. It was making me hateful and resentful and annoying the people around me.

Whatever sweet delight there is in holding on to your hate, it isn’t worth the eventual effect it will have on your personality and relationships or your health.

When you hold onto these past hurts, you’re giving them the opportunity to reappear at any point and cause you stress. A stress which your body can really do without and is entirely unnecessary.

So let those people and those hurts go. You’re only hurting yourself and suppressing who you really are.


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