I believe that everyone should forgive. I should know, I have always been one to hold a grudge. As long as I can recall I have remembered any wrong a person had done to me. Little things like taking a pencil to bigger things like lying to my face. Some of my grudges were fair and some were not, but I held onto them none-the-less. I would react to the people around me with these in mind and it would affect how I acted. Not only did I let my grudges influence the way I was around people but I let them steer my actions. I would, at times, go out of my way to “get back” at someone who had done me wrong. More often than not, these little revenge streaks were weeks after something had happened and the recipients were confused with my actions. Truly a self destructive habit.
As I matured I fortunately dropped my little revenge escapades, but I still kept and held grudges to the point where I had a grudge against almost anyone. About a year ago, however, I finally broke my bad habit.
I was lounging with my cat, Sparky, on a cold winter day. He was a little black fur ball back then, with huge green eyes which gave him a constant, slightly deranged, but utterly innocent and trusting look. We were both lying by the fire, quite content. I had with me a small pop gun and, of course, being a teenager I had to pop the pop gun and I decided to do it right next to Mr. sleeping Sparky. Pop! And straight up went Sparky. Terrified, he glanced around as I popped the gun again. He took off, but only a few bounds before he turned and stared at me, his head slightly cocked to one side. I popped the gun again and he stayed put. After a few seconds, however, he started to come back and I popped the gun right in his face. Shaken, he leapt back before looking at me with those oversized eyes. This repeated a few times but Sparky always came back. I finally got bored and tossed the gun away. Immediately, Sparky was by my side, purring. After all the drama I had just put him through, he could forget about it and move on. Well then, why couldn’t I do the same? I am not quite sure why I had that epiphany right then and there with Sparky, but I did.
Simply put, holding grudges is bad. Remembering what people have done to you is good to help create a sense of who a person is. But to hold on to specific events when a person did you wrong is detrimental to everyone involved. You feel like you have a chip on your shoulder and when you respond in some way that is influenced by it someone else will feel hurt too. It becomes a cycle in which no one can win. However, if you forget about your grudge, live each day like it’s your first, then it is easier to move on and enjoy life. You are not weighed down by past wrongs that play on your mind. You can treat everyone with a positive attitude and, in return, receive more from them too. This is how I try to live my life now, like Sparky, forgiving people for whatever wrongs they might have done me, and refusing to let any grudge influence my actions.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.