I know all about grudges and holding onto things long past their due date. For example, social media recently caused me to come across a former schoolmate. We had progressed through the same school district for six years, yet my strongest memory involves a balmy summer day when she laughed at me. It was a mean laugh, too. Somebody had said something insulting, as some middle schoolers are wont to do, and she – sitting to the left and one seat ahead of me – snickered. Making it more insulting was her mannerisms that indicated she thought I didn’t notice. Prior to this, she had indulged in being perceived as one of those sweet and quiet girls, but this? This was who she was. This was the jerk who lived beneath the smile and silence she showed to the rest of the school in passing.
To make a long story short, the years have not been kind to her. Yeah, yeah: I know that’s petty, shallow, and immature. My seventh grade self is still appeased.
It’s not always possible to witness people getting their comeuppance, and really: waiting to see someone suffer is no way to live. As 2019 draws to a close, it’s as good a time as any to free yourself. Seriously, that is what it really comes down to: acquiring your own peace of mind.
Here are two methods that work for me:
Let Them Go
Acquire your zen, your happy place, your chill – whatever you want to call it – by letting them go. Not it. Not the slight, pain, or insult, but them. Him. Her. Whomever. Let go of the person who is causing you pain.
Sometimes this is difficult, especially if the person is deeply entrenched with others in your group (like family and coworkers), and you still care about people who are yammering at you about “being the bigger person,” or “that’s just how they are.” The latter is the most BS-y excuse of all the BS-y excuses. My current retort is that may be how they are, but *I* am somebody who doesn’t put up with it. Dude, please feel free to use the heck out of my line if necessary. Just because somebody acts like a stinky butt doesn’t mean that you are required to take it. Also, “being the bigger person” is not, and should not be, synonymous with “being a doormat.”
If you can’t completely extricate yourself from the person, minimize exposure and interactions. Set your social media so that you don’t see their posts. Make the bare amount of pleasantries at gatherings before proclaiming that you need to refresh your drink, or see somebody you need to talk to about hiding a body (or returning a book. Something). Should all else fail, act stupid. Pretend that whatever the offending person said went right over your head, laugh, and then go somewhere else. It’s not rude, and again: you don’t have to put up with them. Just zoom.
Playing stupid works really well for people you absolutely can’t avoid, like co-workers. There are a lot of people who believe I know everything about reality TV and nothing about politics because that is what I strongly imply when they try to rope me in. Nope. Nuh-uh. Move along.
Think of this as your Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss: the move you go to when there is no other way to finish things. I have rewritten historyonly once in my life, because there is really nothing else I can do since the other person is gone.
The circumstances aren’t even about a grudge, but the potential for lingering pain. I never understood my mom, and feel like she never understood me. There are two ways I could go with this. The first would be a path of suffering: all the missed opportunities, the culmination of arguments and sullen silences, and a never-ending regret over never being able to talk this out with her.
I choose the second route: taking the knowledge that I have of my mom, recognizing my role in things, and believing that, if I could only approach her knowing what I know now… Ah, what am I writing? My mom was never the ABC After School Special mom. There would be no naked emotions nor moving dialogues. She would listen, and I would come down to the same choices I have now. I still choose the second route: my mom did love me. It might not have been the way that I wanted, but it was there in the way she held me on Disneyland’s Matterhorn as screeched everything would be alright (neither of us knew how fast that last drop really was. Ha!) It’s etched in the cheesy poem about daughters that is fading from the mug she gave me on my 17th birthday. Her love was there in the way she almost always supported my newest endeavors, hoping it would be the one that finally helped me find my way in life.
As 2019 ends and 2020 begins, I hope my little coping methods are helpful to you. Drop me a line and let me know – whether “knowing” means that these worked or didn’t work for you, or if you need me to show up with a shovel and an alibi! (Kidding. Hurting people is bad. Taking a life is even worse.)
(I could do a better job of wrapping up this post, but do you know what I just heard? It was my rice cooker, and I have some yummy, fluffy sticky rice waiting for me. Guess what my priority is. Spoiler alert: it is not this post.)