From a Teen’s Perspective: Release those grudges

by Dylan Lanier on September 26, 2023

We all hold grudges. Whether it’s a big one, like the time someone made a huge mistake on an important group quiz, or a little one, like when someone cut you off in traffic, grudges can eat at us from the inside unless we make a conscious effort to choose forgiveness.

In the heat of anger, letting go can seem impossible. There is something undeniably seductive about brooding in the negative emotion. However, here’s four reasons why you should release those grudges:

1. You’re giving up your power: Every time you revisit your anger, you’re continuing to let the subject of your grudge affect your life long after the incident occurred. The best way to “win” is simply letting go because you reclaim agency over your emotions and behavior.

2. You’re doing more damage to yourself than them: Buddha once said, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” The negative energy you fuel within yourself will continue to hurt your mental, emotional, and sometimes even physical well-being. By choosing to relinquish your grudge, you’re removing toxic, unproductive anger from your system.

3. You’re wasting useful energy: It takes way more energy to hold a grudge than to forgive it. Every time you give into your anger and let it consume you, you use mental and emotional work to simmer in a cause that will bear no valuable fruits. Instead, focus your efforts on productive works that improve your own life.

4. You’re preventing acceptance and growth: The past is a valuable teacher, and we should look back at our history to plan our future. However, you don’t want to get “stuck” in the past on events that can’t provide any assistance for you now. Don’t lose sight of joy in your current life because you are reminiscing on bad memories.

Releasing a grudge is far easier said than done. However, forgiveness is a liberating and relieving feeling that allows you to move forward in your life without being dragged down by past obstacles that are irrelevant in the long run.

So release those grudges, and fill all that new room in your heart with love, laughter, and the best of memories.

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Dylan Lanier is a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School. His column appears weekly on InMenlo.

Image by 8photo on Freepik

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