Drinking Poison

It is a fascinating phenomenon to see how people hold on to old grudges and resentment. It reminds me of old people who have outdated appliances like a decade’s year old unusable and unsalvageable mix masters or motor vehicles that have a major components missing. It is as if they are expecting it will miraculously prove to have some use in the future. The object occupies space that could be allocated to useable objects, looks unsightly, takes energy and organisation to store and keep clean and stands in the way of the owner investing in something that would be useful and valuable. They resist all exhortations by others to let go of what is no longer serving them and may even be causing distress to the people who share their space. The objects serve as an ongoing a testimony to their intransigence in obstinately clinging to an all but forgotten past. With grudges and resentment the original cause no longer exists and so has to be continually recreated in the present. The details of the issues need to be constantly ruminated upon to avoid them being forgotten. The story has to be continually gossiped about so that the holder of the grudge can recruit others into validating the story as if consensus, albeit of a shared delusion makes it true and justified. Consider  what it takes to keep unfinished business from the past current. It turns out that it is an actual occupation that keeps you so busy that you have no focus, energy or attention left by the time you are finished with it to invest in hope or a constructive future in the afflicted relationship.  It is the emotional equivalent of compost making, where you try to produce something useful out of decayed rotten matter. In gardening it works. In emotional life and relationships it just ferments the fresh present and spreads the rot into the future. In order to let go of grudges’ and resentment you need to practice forgiveness. Forgiveness means simply resigning from this toxic occupation. It does not mean as most people think generously handing absolution for the unforgivable and in so doing claiming enough moral high ground to get you a standing ovation on a reality show. It means understanding that since you do not control nor are you the final custodian of justice in the world; you do not have to keep an account of everybody else’s business. Offering forgiveness means in effect freeing yourself from the self-created  burden of that toxic role that robs you of potential to move forward and create good in your own life. If you swallow these words then you can free yourself from drinking poison and hoping that someone else will die.

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