Grudges Hurt:

How to Forgive and Forget

Grudges Hurt: How to Forgive and Forget

The pace of daily life can be hectic, and when certain personalities collide, sometimes people disagree.

Sound familiar? It's impossible to navigate the world without ever running into conflict with another person. But carrying grudges can be destructive to your emotional and physical wellbeing. In 2009, researchers at the Department of Psychology at Medical College of Georgia published a survey, which revealed that those who don't forgive can experience more pain disorders, heart disease and stomach ulcers.

"Holding onto negativity causes harm to the one who won't forgive," says Dr. Matthew B. James, president of The Empowerment Partnership, and a teacher of an ancient Hawaiian spiritual science, called huna.

Refusing to forgive can have widespread effects too, it can create chains of resentment throughout entire communities. "When you point a finger at someone to blame them, there are always three fingers pointing back at you," says Dr. James.

But letting go of old hurts isn't easy. Dr. James suggests that grudge-bearers take the following steps to seek true forgiveness:

* Tell the other person that you forgive them. Don't say that you will "forgive, but not forget" -- the goal is to release negative feelings.

* Ask the other person to forgive you. Ask for forgiveness even if you believe that you did nothing wrong. "Saying, 'I forgive you; please forgive me, too' brings the other person into the picture and gets them actively involved," says Dr. James.

* Have a conversation. Create enough space for you and the other person to say everything that needs to be said. Stay calm and speak in normal tones, even if you don't like what you hear. At the end of your talk, you should feel relieved to have gotten your thoughts and feelings into the open. Give and ask for forgiveness once more.

* Move on. Ask yourself what you have learned from the situation, and use it to make better decisions in the future.

"To forgive and to never forget is to never forgive in the first place," says Dr. James. "We owe it to ourselves to experience true forgiveness."

For more advice or to learn about Dr. James' teachings of huna and empowerment, visit or

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