Holding a grudge?

I try to not hold a grudge. However, there ARE some things that have happened to me that I don’t necessarily want to forget, basically in order to protect myself against them happening to me again. I don’t think that means I am holding a grudge – at least in my mind. I think I am fairly quick to forgive, and maybe not so quick to forget.

Maybe I am wrong about this, but I don’t feel that forgetting is always the best response to things. Instead, I try to figure out what it is that is that is important to learn from a situation. For instance, I have a friend who, when I ask about having lunch together, always says, “I’d love to – let me check my calendar and get back to you with a date.” But she never does get back to me. As this has been going on for many years, and I like to think I am not stupid, I have quit asking her to lunch. We’re still friends, I don’t think I have any bad feelings about this anymore, and I did learn my lesson not to ask her to lunch anymore. After multiple times of  looking forward to hearing when we could get together, and then being disappointed because I wouldn’t hear from her, I just don’t set myself up for that disappointment anymore. I understand that she may not want to have lunch with me, or that perhaps she just can’t fit me into her schedule. It doesn’t matter; it is her life and she gets to make her own decisions. And I have realized that opening myself up to hopes about things that apparently are never going to happen is not the smartest thing I can do. I am not mad at her; I am just not going there again.

I have had situations where someone has done something hurtful to me that totally confuses me – I don’t know where the action came from. I know that something like that often has nothing to do with me, but rather has sprung from other stuff happening in that person’s life.  I usually forgive that kind of thing almost immediately. But that doesn’t mean that I am willing to forget it ever happened and put myself in the same situation to be hurt again. You can call that “hanging onto a grudge” if you like, but I don’t think it is. I don’t dislike this person, though I may have a hard time for a while being around them. I am not constantly thinking about what was done, or how it made me feel. I am a little more guarded with people; it does take me a little longer to be vulnerable with some people.

I have had someone tell me that I am holding a grudge just because I was laughing about something that happened to me long ago. I don’t think I was holding a grudge. For one thing, it was something that I never thought of as a bad thing – even when it happened. I thought it was kind of funny then, and, when I think of it now, I still think it’s kind of funny. I haven’t felt any forgiveness about this, because I never saw it as a situation that needed forgiveness. When I think of a grudge, I think of having resentment toward something; I never had any resentment toward this thing, so how could I be holding a grudge?

Maybe I am wrong here, but I don’t think that someone else knows better than you if you are holding a grudge. I also don’t think that remembering something so that you don’t put yourself in a position to be hurt again is necessarily holding a grudge – maybe it is just self-preservation.


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