Motivation Monday: Bury the Hatchet
Each Monday, we're rolling out a new challenge to change the way you think, act, do, or feel. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be motivated to try something different for a week. And if you love it, keep it going!
This week’s challenge is to give up those long-simmering grudges you’ve been holding onto. Yes, this may sound impossible, but you’ll feel so much better if you even take initial steps to letting go of past drama.
So how do you get started? First, think about anyone that you have a legitimate grudge against. Is it an ex-boyfriend that broke your heart? A terrible boss that treated you poorly? A friend or acquaintance that wronged you?
Next, take each person one at a time and think about why you’re mad at them. Assess how deeply you still feel pain when thinking about your history together. Feel free to assess your feelings on a scale of 1 to 10. Even just framing your relationship with someone in this way can help minimize any negativity you have toward them. For example, maybe you had a classmate that drove you up the wall when you saw them daily – to the point where you dreaded interacting with them. But now? With some time and space you might realize that a former ‘nemesis’ is now just an annoying memory.
The next step is to think about what you’d do if you ran into this person again in a totally neutral scenario. Would you smile and give them a hug? Be polite and courteous? Head for the hills? Or tear a strip off them? Visualizing how a future interaction might go can again help diminish your grudge toward them. The way you’d react when coming face-to-face with an ex that cheated on you immediately after breaking up might be totally different than how you’d interact with them a decade later, when you’ve both moved on. For the record, this visualization tactic is also useful to calm your mind down in the event you actually do run into that person again.
If you’re still raging, try writing a letter or email (addressed to no one!) and spill everything you think about that person. Express how they hurt you, or explore what you wish they’d done differently. Don’t be afraid to write down the long-term effects of your interaction. If you have a hard time trusting people after a coworker betrayed you, say it. When you’re done, put the letter away (or save an email draft) for a solid week. Then revisit it. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel about everything.
You might not be able to give up a grudge entirely this week – but at the very least you can take some steps toward softening that long-simmering heartache.