Maybe I’d be better off if I could hold a grudge.
Friends are confused when I mention this because, hey, who doesn’t like to considered a forgiving person? Well, it turns out that sometimes it’s a pain in the butt. Grudge-holders don’t know the frustration that comes with the inability to stay angry at a person for any significant amount of time. They can get mad and stay mad for as long as they want. People like me? We get mad, and then we’re over it in a week or so, whether we want to be or not.
When people seriously piss me off, I get all upset, try my best to avoid them, and all the usual things. When I hear their names, I might scoff a bit or roll my eyes in disgust. You know how it goes. But even if this hatred is going swimmingly, it never takes me very long to reach a point where something has to be done. One of two things is happening then.
Option A: I just start to get exhausted. Focusing any amount of my energy on being mad and upset is draining. Emotions shouldn’t be held against their will or forced, which is how a grudge feels to me. When that happens, I stop caring so much. I realize that even if it was a big fight or whatever, it’s done and over with and I can get over it too. No formal apologies needed. And even if the other party is still shitty about the situation, whatever. I get to this point where I’m bored with it. Time to get on to the next thing.
Option B: I miss the person I’m mad at. This happens when there’s a blowout argument with a friend or someone I’m actually fairly close with. The anger fades as the days go by and I finally start thinking more logically and ponder the other person’s point of view and all of that. Even if I’m still determined that he or she was in the wrong, my other feelings get the best of me. When I miss someone, I can’t help it. If the person matters, you should be more than willing to resolve an argument in order to salvage a friendship.
In contrast, grudge holders can feed off of a tiny source of anger or disappointment for preposterous amounts of time. It seems wasteful that way….like they don’t even want to allow themselves to be happy. And that’s sad. Plus you know that everyone always says that it isn’t healthy to stay angry like that. However, I can see some benefits in there too. A grudge is anything but another emotional roller coaster whereas working through one really is just that. After a while, the anger may even disappear, and it’s all but forgotten…at least until a certain trigger brings it right back front and center. Friendships are always at stake, but the ones that survive are bound to be strong ones.
So, back to my original proposal. Is it better to be able to hold a grudge against someone, or am I lucky to have missed out on that ability? Sometimes I actually get mad that I can’t stay mad. If you’ve never been through that, it’s impossible to imagine such frustration. But on the other hand, I’m not ever going to look back and wonder what a friendship could have become if not for one stupid “unforgivable” incident. Or maybe there’s more to it than that. Maybe I just haven’t been through something that I can deem unforgivable.
Now that I think about it, I can hope I never find that thing, even if it sometimes seems easier to hold a grudge than to forgive. Hmm. Maybe that answers my question after all.