help4yourfamily

Create the family you want to have

Parent Affirmation Monday- Letting Go of Grievances- 12/10/2012

Don't let the sun go down on your grievances

Don’t let the sun go down on your grievances (Photo credit: kevin dooley)

written by, Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C

As we approach a new year, and get closer to seeing people we might not see all the time, who we might have a history with that remains unresolved in some way, it is time to think about putting aside past grievances. Most of us, at some point, have had an argument with a person we cared for that turned into something much bigger than it needed to be. So often the conflicts we have are not about what we say they are about. More often they are about a perceived slight, belief about the other person, or some other story we tell ourselves about things that have happened in the past. When you look at the person you have an old, unresolved grievance with, perhaps one that gets activated this time of year, I’m going to suggest that it is time to ask yourself whether it is worth it to you to carry around this grudge anymore.

I am reminded of an email I got a long time ago that I wish I had saved. It was about a professor talking to his students. The professor filled a cup with water. He held the cup up in front of the class and asked the students how much they thought it weighed. The students guessed with a fair amount of accuracy. The professor then asked, “How much do you think this cup would weigh if I held it up just like this for five minutes?” Well of course it would weigh the same amount, but it would feel a good bit heavier. Imagine holding a cup up in front of you for an entire day…an entire week…a month…a year. That’s one heavy cup. Imagine the water is a grievance you have been carrying around. Think about the relief of putting down our cup of grievances.

Often we think we are going to hold onto a little grudge. It won’t weigh much. We only pull it out a couple of times a year when we see a certain individual. We minimize the energy it takes to carry the grievance inside of us until we wait for the right moment to pull it out and apply it.

In the car, on the way to see people you have not seen for a while, or maybe even people you see all the time, take a moment to listen to your thoughts. Are you dreading some aspect of the upcoming encounter? Why? Imagine what it would be like to let go of your expectations for what that person “should” do or how they “should” be according to you. A big part of this will be forgiving yourself for believing you knew how someone “should” be or what they “should” do. On the way to see anyone who you hold hurt or angry feelings about (including your children), try saying the following affirmation to yourself:

I am letting go of past grievances and looking toward a brighter future for myself and for this person.

I want to strongly emphasize that looking toward a brighter future does not necessarily mean that you are looking to become best friends. It does not even mean that you spend time together- ever. Letting go of grievances does not push the reset button for healthy boundaries. It is simply deciding that you are putting this memory, this contentious story you tell yourself about the issue to bed. Wishing happiness for those around you, and letting go of old grievances help us all create a more peaceful, loving existence and models for our children how to rise above old, unhealthy family patterns.

December 10, 2012 - Posted by | affirmations, help for parents, parent support/ self improvement | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Very timely… how did you know? 🙂

    Comment by Shara Darden (@SharaDarden) | December 10, 2012 | Reply


What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: