Grudges & Love
I recently read an article which described love as the “astrolabe of the seeker”. For the uneducated, an astrolabe is a complex device used to navigate the stars. I’ve seen this concept resounding true in all aspects of life.
The bible has the following to say about love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
At first glance, it paints a kind-sounding definition of love. Were one to offer you this sort of love, it would be easy to accept – yet difficult to offer others.
I find myself dropping the ball on displaying these attributes; or selfishly pointing to the ones I do ‘well’ while brushing aside others that hit closer to home.
The hardest one being ‘it keeps no record of wrongs.’ Transparently, I keep a system-of-record for all of the wrongs others have done to me, or that I’ve witnessed them inflict upon others.
Holding on to grudges doesn’t serve me. Rather, the grudges become a sludge of hatred that accumulates; blocking emotions and the ability to love [non-related] others.
I’ve found it hard…really hard to let go of things that have happened to me. Words, especially, because there’s a part of me that replays them in my head; questioning if they’re true.
I’m not sure if there’s a best practice guide to letting go of grudges. One method seems to work particularly well, which involves going back to a moment of harm and placing oneself in the shoes of the person inflicting the damage.
When I see their words/actions through their own eyes, it provides a more compassionate window into the damage that was inflicted, and I realize how silly it was to hold on to a grudge for so many years.
A lot of life truly can be boiled down to love. Sometimes you’re on the receiving end of love; benefiting from another person showing it to you (or a sunrise), while other moments are the difficult times that feel a lot more like pain than pleasure (forgiving others, for example) which yield fruit you’ll discover long past the difficult actions it required you to take.
I don’t know if there’s a simple way to apply love and forgiveness to your life, aside from viewing the other person as equal to yourself. Simply put, this means viewing the other person as if they are/were you.
It’s not an easy thing to get out of your own ego/pride and view a situation from the perspective of another. However, I’ve found it to be a useful tool when I get stuck forgiving others, or nursing a grudge that has lived inside of me for longer than it should have.