January is a time for resolutions and promises of fresh starts in the new year. It can also be a great time to let go of grudges from the past. For some people, forgiving is easy. As soon as they realize that someone is genuinely sorry, or even before an apology comes, they are ready to forgive and move on. But other people hang onto grudges, and some also are proud of how deep their grudge is and how long they’ve held onto it. Grudges are not something to be proud of and should be smudged out of your conscious whenever possible.
For the people we social coach, grudges are common, and forgiveness can be difficult. For those who have social challenges, it’s even possible that they are holding a grudge for something that they misperceived. Kids who work so hard to get friends will cut them loose at the smallest infraction. However, if the scenario flips, those same people want forgiveness from others. They don’t see the hypocrisy in that, though, even when it’s pointed out to them.
Sometimes people hold onto family grudges. If a family repeatedly brings up a past grievance, kids will take on that grievance even if there was resolution long ago, or if they have no memory of what happened.
Holding onto grievances can be a substantial social barrier, and it’s essential to learn how to let go. Our favorite way of letting go is to do a grudge smudge. A grudge smudge is a simple task of writing down the grudge on a piece of paper or card stock and shredding it. If done by hand, card stock is more satisfying. I use a hand crank shredder to get the job done. Once the grudge is smudged, that means no more revisiting that grudge. Shredding it symbolizes being completely done with it, and it’s cleansing to release all that negativity.