Menu

How to Stop Sweating the Small Stuff and Let Go of Your Grudges

“Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge and harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul.” ~Steve Maraboli

You are tired of it, aren’t you?

You find yourself arguing again. You feel anger rising up in you.

You realize there’s no use in trying to explain your position and decide to stop the conversation.

But the topic still buzzes in your head…

This used to define my marriage.

The first few years of my marriage were constant arguing. After each argument my mind would run over and over the things he had done to hurt me, the things I was expecting him to do, the things that I couldn’t trust him with.

I’d spend days without talking to him, my anger festering inside me.

After a couple of days I could still feel those negative feelings eating me inside, so I’d half-heartedly reach out to the “enemy.”

How long could we keep on going like this?

The power struggles, the held grudges, the unhappiness were taking a big toll on our marriage. They were creating distance between us. The strong bond we had was dying.

Finally I asked myself, “Where are we going? Are we going to let grudges ruin our marriage? Is our marriage going to become another statistic?”

After some thinking I realized the arguments were always over minor things, not important values, not the things that made each of us who we were.

Chores were a constant source of grudges for us. I’d expect him to spontaneously help. But he was wired differently. Unless I asked him to do something, he wouldn’t do it.

Why wasn’t he more helpful? Couldn’t he see that I was tired and needed help with the dishes? I’d wait for him to offer to help but he’d just sit at the table.

By the time I was done with the dishes I’d be so mad I’d snap at the first comment he’d make.

It was not a healthy situation.

We finally decided to make some changes. We decided to put our marriage first. To put small differences aside, at least most of the time.

Grudges are poisonous.

Deep down inside you, you know you should vanish them from your mind. They steal your happiness. And bottled up, that anger will rob you of your health, too.

Is it worth it to hold onto grudges?

Of course not!

Avoid Sabotaging Your Happiness

Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or a relative, grudges creep into our relationships. We are imperfect people living with other imperfect people in a very messed up world.

But we get to choose if we are going to put a higher price tag on our relationships and save them from ruin.

Of course, not every relationship is worth saving, but some are.

If you reached the point where you feel you need to decide to stay in the relationship or pull the plug, it will help you to sit down, once your anger is gone, and go through these seven eye-opening points.

1. Decide if you want to win the battle.

At the time of the argument you decided that you couldn’t let go. It was an important issue for you.

Is winning still important? Are you willing to permanently harm your relationship over this disagreement? You may find that the issue is very important or maybe not as much as you thought back then.

It’s up to you to decide.

2. Evaluate the importance of the argument.

You can’t evaluate impartially when you are angry, so don’t be hard on yourself. But once you aren’t angry any more, maybe after a good night sleep, you can continue the healing process.

Then ask yourself, am I compromising my beliefs if I let the grudge go?

In our marriage, I realized our grudges were based on petty things and the solution was within our reach. Communication was the key.

We didn’t change overnight. Years later we still have to work on letting go of grudges every now and then. But gone are the days of constant bickering.

3. Know that every relationship involves at least some struggle and disappointment.

No relationship runs smoothly all the time. You are going to have disagreements in every relationship. It’s part of living with others.

You may wonder, “What if it happens again?”

Grudges will happen again with this person and others. In our marriage disagreements happened again and again and again. We both had to learn how the other person communicated and the best way to work together.

But ask yourself, are you willing to live your life alone? You’d be missing out on a lot of bright, fun, and happy moments.

4. Ask yourself if you’re truly “winning” by holding on to your grudge.

If you decide not to let go you’ll keep your ego intact. You “win.” Or do you?

What are you sacrificing? What do you gain by holding on to the grudge?

Sometimes the person you had the discussion with is not someone you should keep in your life, and sometimes it is.

In any case, keeping grudges is not good for your inner peace. Your mind goes down negative circles and that harms you more than anyone else.

5. Recognize the power of forgiveness.

Forgiving someone can be difficult. Of course it depends on what you are forgiving, but it’s still not easy.

But what do you lose by forgiving and letting go of this grudge?

In my life I’ve found that forgiveness can be exercised like a muscle. Small acts of forgiveness, like forgiving someone who cuts you off in traffic, help you become a more forgiving person. It’s liberating and brings healing to your soul.

6. See the bigger picture.

Think about the months or years you invested in this relationship, the good times you had together, the great things you found in this person. Is it worth it to harm the relationship because of a disagreement?

How important is the issue in the bigger picture?

Can you let go of the issue? Or, even better, sit together and try to reach an understanding? Hopefully that’ll be the case and you can move on and have a stronger friendship.

My husband and I sat together and put our grudges into perspective. It turned out our problems were not worth the grief they were causing, so we decided to work together to fix them.

After a disagreement, and once we have cooled off, we’d sit to discuss what had happened. We’d analyze what was said, what was implied, and what each had interpreted. We tried to stay as impartial as possible.

I realized I was jumping to conclusions.

We needed to work on our communication. I learned that I couldn’t count on him guessing what I needed. If I wanted him to do something, I needed to clearly ask for it.

It was not easy for me to ask, I was not wired that way, but I saw that when I’d ask for help he would be glad to give it. With time I got better at it and months would go by without disagreements.

We reaped great benefits from those conversations. And our marriage is stronger today.

7. Ask if you’re willing to ruin your relationship over this.

You’re hesitant to let go. You think that means accepting the other person’s point of view. You think that if you let go you are giving in.

Not true.

Your position doesn’t need to change, but you don’t need to ruin a relationship because of a disagreement.

You just chose to let go. You acted on your best interest to protect your health and inner peace against feelings of anger that want to bring you down.

Decide to Purge Anger from Your Mind

Grudges are like toxic clutter invading your soul and stealing your happiness.

Should you let them run wild?

Bottled up grudges and anger can make you sad and depressed, and they can cause health problems. Are you willing to submit yourself to that?

You can see that to let go of grudges is one smart, sensible, self-preserving decision away.

So choose to end the pernicious cycle of holding grudges and regain your inner peace today.

About Corina Semph

Corina Semph is on a mission to help people transform their homes from disorganized, cluttered, and overwhelming to peaceful and beautiful. Download her FREE Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Transform Your Closet from Crazy to Blissful in No Time.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
Announcement: Tired of feeling stuck? Learn to let go of the past & create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Thanks for pointing out there is a difference in focusing on winning a battle and focusing on winning a war.
    Focusing on winning the battle can lead to burned bridges and damaged feeling that are beyond repair. Focusing on winning the war can lead to more cooperation and understanding.

  • CorinaS

    Thanks for your comment Tony! I agree, sometimes in the heat

    of the moment, in an effort to win, we say things that can ruin a relationship
    that might have taken years to build. Looking at the bigger picture can lead to
    much grow in relationships.

  • Cold Water

    Why do you feel a need to broadcast your personal life and thoughts into this matrix? Do you understand that the very nature of maintaining a blog focused on your life and advice to other people is narcissistic?

    The internet is NOT connecting people, it is destroying lives. And by contributing to this cesspool of misinformation, you are contributing to the downward spiral of the human species.

    Having your picture posted as an avatar is essentially idol worship. The contents of your blog do not matter because THE PLATFORM IS SICK.

    The internet itself is a devastating black hole which has brought the final nail down on the coffin of love.

    The love of which anyone speaks today in the year 2017 is NOT what it was in the beginning. Your love is a shallow emotion and that is why the “honeymoon period” exists. That is why people have unhappy relationships.

    Most likely your husband is cheating on you. Given the statistics of oversexualized teenagers online and with access to phones and cars, given the vast amount of free porn on the internet, given the MASSIVE promotion of infidelity in the media…

    The logical conclusion is that the MAJORITY of people in “committed relationships” ARE NOT FAITHFUL. You are choosing to look the other way and labeling it as a healthy approach to life. It’s making you numb. I’m sure your husband would deny this to his dying day, at least to your face. But I’m willing to bet any man who could read what I’m writing would secretly know it’s the truth.

    The car, the camera, the radio, the television, the internet… these are all tests which mankind has failed systematically throughout history and which have separated and destroyed the love that once existed.

    And now, the human species is FULLY narcissistic without even realizing it.

    You assume a position of authority in your writing complete with false humility, like so many others filling up this void. Anyone who is truly empathetic would quit participating in this psychobabble bullshit, quit social media altogether, and most importantly quit driving the death machines which are killing our planet. Your scientists have told you that the planet Earth has very little time left. Why are you focused on giving relationship advise to people you’ve never met?

    Look, writers of “Tiny Buddha,” Buddhism is a cover for satanism. If you had actually done your historical research you would know this. Perhaps you do. Buddhism promotes the concept of no right and no wrong. It promotes the false idea that positive thinking is all it takes to make change. In essence promoting man as God. Buddhism is A LIE.

    All of your positive thinking hasn’t made the concrete disappear, it hasn’t solved overpopulation, it hasn’t made our water clean, it hasn’t taken down the evil systems which enslave us day by day. Your mode of thinking is nothing more than DENIAL.

    And yes, I am writing a scathing response to your seemingly innocuous blog entry and I’m doing so on purpose. People need to be shocked out of complacency. And, in all actuality, your post is not innocent. By advising people against feeling their emotions, you are promoting the very nature of psychopathy.

    The concept of “letting your anger go” is another label for repression. When a person is justifiably angry, the best thing that person can do is to feel their anger.

    You are promoting the numbing of the spirit. You are promoting the death of the human soul.

    WAKE UP! Wash the makeup off your face. It’s toxic. And if you haven’t noticed… most men aren’t even sexually aroused by adult women anymore. You can thank the porn industry for that.

    Marriage is a sham. It’s been a sham ever since it became a contract.

    The bigger the wedding ring, the more money he spends on you, the more entitled he feels to get some candy on the side.

    You’ve been distracted by your own ego.
    What exactly are you “letting go”?

  • selvi

    It was truly an “smack-in-the-face” article you’ve written here CorinaS which i bumped to early in the morning (where i am situated) & i sincerely thank you for that. Im pretty much in the same situation here, however the difference being im facing this issue with my siblings. We are all well into our late 20s & early 30s (there’s only 3 girls & me being the eldest). I’ve been through thick & thin for my family’s well being for the past years & i even put the idea of settlling down/getting married on hold up-to now just so i could be of more assistance to my family’s situation. However, over the past few years due to getting fed-up of being un-appreciated i’ve slowly retreated out & things have gotten more worse with them over these past few months where now we are all at the point of not speaking to each other for almost 1 month. After reading your article, i realise i’ve actually done most of the points proposed whenever we were in an argument, except for 1 last point : forgiving. I realised that even though i stand down most of the time, deep down i did not forgive them & hence that caused me to dwell on the -ve issue for long. I now know what should i do, forgive them for my own internal peace as i know our relationship has passed beyond the stage of any concillation & i no longer see the need to do so too. So, thanks again for such a honest article.

  • CorinaS

    Selvi, thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad I was able to help. I’m the oldest of three sisters and I’m very lucky to have both of my sisters as my best friends. I hope your sisters are able to see what you do for your family and show you appreciation but in the meantime you can only work on your internal peace. You never know, maybe with time they’ll see what they have in you.

  • selvi

    Trully Corina, i wish the same too. Nothing much. Basic appreciation matters & goes a long way. I certainly hope so they actually not only say that they appreciate what i’ve done but also show it by all means, because i really dont expect anything from them, just a honest, sincere & equal love. That’s all. Indeed you’re right, i’m now focusing on my internal peace & doing what’s right for me & trying my level best to not dwell on the past -ve issues but instead focusing on moving forward & hopefully with time everything gets better.. =) thanks again..