Challenge Accepted: Giving Grudges an Expiry Date


Something I have had to face in myself is the fact that I can hold a grudge for a really long time. To be fair to myself, it can take quite a lot for me to get to the point of grudge-holding, but once I'm there, it's really hard for me to leave it behind.

Case in point: I still give a nasty side eye to the restaurant whose owner made me cry 15 years ago, the baby clothing store where I worked and had many issues 10 years ago, the apartment building for the man who was particularly confusing in how he went about breaking up with me 6 years ago.

At some point, they have all become silly. It makes sense to avoid the person who made you cry's business for a little while, but for 15 years??? How does it even register after this much time? These grudges are truly ancient history--my life has moved on in a serious way, as, I'm sure, have the lives of the others involved. And yet, I still seem to care. Why?

That's why I like the idea put forward in this Manrepeller article by Harling Ross: give your grudges an expiry date. Ross is talking about petty grudges within a relationship; she and her boyfriend agreed that if something small comes up that bugs them, they have to say something within 24 hours or let it go.

I'd like to take this idea in a different direction: I want to give myself an expiry date on holding grudges, period. Once I realize I am holding a grudge, I will name it and give myself a deadline to throw it out. ("I am mad at ____ for ____ and I can hold that grudge until ____.")

My spidey senses tell me that naming the grudge in the first place will help with the process of release. Things tend to lose their power when you face and name them, and grudges, while often described in great detail, are rarely looked at directly.

Just like the shelf life of that artisanal, farm-sourced goat cheese is shorter from that of a name brand salad dressing, some grudges may have longer processing times. For that reason, I won't pre-determine any particular length. I can tell you this, though: the three grudges I described earlier have loooong expired. They're out.

UPDATE: I got an opportunity to try this out IRL and... here's the result!

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!