We are taught in college and grad school to be critical thinkers. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But what happens when we apply the critical thinking process on people who failed us? The temptation is to judge that person and not let that person be released from our judgment – holding a grudge.
Life becomes difficult when grudges control your actions. These judgmental attitudes ultimately prevent people from effectively sharing life together.
You know you’re being judgmental when you…
- Are critical from a superior standpoint
- Do not assess people critically in order to be helpful but to judge them harshly
- Are negative and destructive towards others and enjoy actively seeking out their failings
- Assume the worst possible construction on other people’s motives, pour cold water on their plans and are ruthless towards their mistakes.
It’s easy to judge, resent and keep distant from those we don’t approve of. But what if there is more than meets the eye? What if the difficult person had a temporary ‘off’ season of life? Is there room for second chances?
If so, here are steps to make a life-changing impact on people who harmed us and people we harmed.
- Reflect on Yourself First: we tend to see our own flaws as much smaller than others’ mistakes. However, our sins tend to be so big in our lives that we are blind to them – it is in our own selfish nature that we only see others’ shortcomings. Genuine introspection tends to humble us. This is a good thing as humility makes us more approachable.
- Be Aware: you may think that the past is long gone, but are you sure? People remember things longer than you think – make the effort to know if someone has a grudge against you.
- Forgive: forgiveness involves setting a person free from the past and obligations of payment. One way to test if you truly forgave someone is to ask yourself, “Do you think the best of someone when something bad happens?” If you don’t, perhaps you’re not as forgiving as you originally thought.
- Share Life: grudges keep people distant but sharing life on life provides more opportunities to understand one another better, reconcile and ultimately build stronger relationships. Moments of realization and transformation come when we are generous with our time and resources. Let these folks know you care by sharing life with them.
In the end, you reap what you sow. If you choose to hold a grudge, your actions send a clear message: grudges are good. Not just good, but worth repeating since you uphold them. Take these steps of reconciliation and be the difference.