Let go of grudges: Move on and live a better life

“When you hold a grudge, you want someone else’s sorrow to reflect your level of hurt but the two rarely meet.”

Woman furious and holding a grudge.

― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

If you teach long enough you'll have a problem with a colleague or a student or a parent. There will be someone. I've found that the disagreements at schools are much more volatile and explosive than most issues in the business world. Problems with kids are the kind you lay awake and think about. Our actions shape lives and good educators take that responsibility very seriously.

In business, it was sometimes about people but most often about money or opinions. But when you're talking children — we all tend to get emotional. And most issues with children or even other teachers rapidly become “he said, she said” types of issues. And that means misunderstandings and cross words. If you're not careful, you can carry a whole lot of baggage of hurt feelings and upset feelings and the longer you teach, the bigger the bag is that you drag around…. unless… you learn to let it go.

Holding grudges only hurts you

A wise Sunday School teacher once told me this:

“When you hold a grudge, it is like tying a dead body to your back. Everywhere you go, you are dragging that dead body with you. It hurts no one but you because the other person doesn't really even care that you have the burden.”

I've also heard:

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

As we finish up the school year and you get ready for next year, I was just thinking that one of the best things each of us can do to improve next year is to let go of any old grudges. To forgive is truly divine and many of us believe (like me) that it takes Divine Intervention to help us do it and yet, forgiving and letting go of grudges is a serum for your health.

As you consider your New Year's resolutions and work to make your classroom a better place for students, perhaps consider if old grudges need to be left behind with the old year. This is something I'm working on in my own life and I thought it might help some of you.

Carrying a grudge is like weighting down your backpack and trying to climb Mt. Everest without ropes — as a teacher, we just don't have the extra energy to carry all that weight.

This new year, give yourself (and others) the gift that keeps on giving good things: let go of old grudges and climb to new heights in your teaching and in your life.

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