Ten Tips to Help You Throw Off Grudges

I’m percolating on a blog about high wires and mustard seeds. Meanwhile, you might enjoy reading this piece by licensed clinical social worker Nancy Norman. Used with permission, Nancy offers 10 tips to help you throw off grudges. Those resentment gremlins like to hide in soul closets, year after year. Sometimes they ambush when least expected. Perhaps 2017 will be the year to throw off these joy-sucking monsters. Read below and see:

Are Grudges Too Heavy to Carry?

By Guest Writer Nancy Norman

What is a grudge, anyway? Webster says it’s “lingering ill will towards a person for a real or imagined wrong.” A synonym is “resentment.”

Mark Sichel, a therapist writing in Psychology Today, defines resentment as “receptively replaying a feeling, and the events leading up to it, that goads or angers us.” He adds that not overcoming resentment is probably the single most devastating obstacle to repairing a relationship.

This pen and ink drawing shows a woman barely able to care a huge bag on her back with the word grudge across the bag.
A grudge can be a heavy burden.

Resentment is different from being angry with someone. You get mad; you get over it; you put it behind you. But grudges aren’t finished. They offer endless reruns; they fester; they create barriers to closeness; they shout out any chance of resolution except by the person feeling them.

Sichel lists 10 steps to letting go of resentments. I’ve added ideas to his list:

Addictive State of Mind

1. Approach resentment as the addictive state of mind it is. If you can’t keep going over and over how you were offended, you’ll lose the resentment.

2. Realize that you are using resentment to go over old dramas. What your neighbor just did reminds you of an earlier hurt. But you can’t change the past.

Transferring Onto Others

3. Examine how your resentment may come from emotionally confusing people in your present life with people from your past. Your boss has characteristics, both good and bad, of your mother or father. When the “bad” ones show up, the intensity of your anger is often measured by the past–not the present.

4. Acknowledge that you cannot control those who have rejected you. Many resentments come from feeling unimportant to someone who matters to you. You can’t make people like you.

Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. Quote by Rick Warren, with art showing a park bench by a tree and water.
Quote by Rick Warrren


Fake and Fraudulent Power

5. Recognize that your resentment gives you only a false sense of power and superiority. You feel “better than” the one who did you wrong. But there’s no real power in judging others. It’s a lonely existence.

6. Learn to identify signals that provoke resentment. Get familiar with the words and actions that seem to cause lasting anger and blame. This awareness can help you move through the hard feelings.

Powerful, Healing Words

7. Put a thought between your feelings of resentment and chewing on them. Therapists call it “thought stopping.” It takes practice, and it works. Get a phrase in mind that you’ll use when feeling resentment such as, “I can give myself peace.” This interrupts the resentment-ruminating cycle. Say it any time resentment flares.

Sign on window says, "Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head."
“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.”

8. Unless you look closely, you can convince yourself it’s all the other person’s fault. Look for your part in the offense, forgive yourself for that, and make a goal not to let it happen again.

Pardon and Peace

9. Declare an amnesty with the person you resent–whether he or she is aware of it or not. The person you resent may be long dead, but you have the power to grant a pardon. Extend the pardon to yourself as well, for holding that grudge.

10. Forgive when you can, and practice willful and deliberate forgetfulness when you cannot. These acts are gifts to yourself rather than giving in to the people you resent.

AA says that “resentment hurts me most.” To gain more peace of mind, I lay down the grudge. And I look for things to carry that bring me happiness instead.

(Note: The above article appeared in “There’s a Blog in My Eye” over a year ago and has been a favorite among my blog hits. It originally was published in LIFE After 50  and is used with permission. Below is some advice to ponder that a friend found on a sign. It seemed appropriate in thinking about grudges.)

A black printed sign with the words quoted in blog.
The words say: “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you arer kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see in the end it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway” (author unknown).

Pokémon Go: Work, Play, Love

I recently discovered that Pokémon lurks in my home and out on the street. Actually, the virtual animated creatures or pocket monsters are just about everywhere I travel. Thanks to house guests, I am learning about the I-Phone and Android game. Pokémon Go has entered my life, just as I am reading friend Mark R. Shaw’s book: Work, Play, Love—A Visual Guide to Calling, Career, & the Mission of God. There’s an interesting connection between the popular game and Mark’s book.

A Pokemon sits in the hand of a player.
Virtual creatures are flying around in my house!

Pokémon Go players use an app on their cell phones to capture different animated creatures and various weapons to gain points and power. They join teams and defend gym locations against other teams. If you observe people swiping their fingers across cell screens as they walk, chances are they are playing Pokémon Go. The game is popular with multi-generations and across the world. Players obviously love the play and work hard to get better.

Work Play Book

Dr. Shaw’s book Work, Play, Love has a chapter on gaming, suggesting that God, our creator, wired us for play, as well as for work and love.

Book cover title "Work, Play, Love" by Mark R. Shaw.
This IVP book is great for a Millennial desiring a more integrated life.

Too often, he says, we keep these areas of life in separate “silos.” Mark declares God’s intentions for humanity is very much about interfacing play and love with work. He shows from the Book of Genesis and Proverbs 8 that God, with wisdom as a companion, sets himself as the model of how to do work with play and love. I like the idea of God delighting as he creates, consistently saying, “It is good.” (Read Proverbs 8 to appreciate the emphasis on wisdom’s involvement at creation.)

Mark, as well as his wife Lois, has spent many years training African leaders for ministry.  In his book, Dr. Shaw has a lot of well-thought out ideas about regaining Project Eden in the cluster of callings that make up our lives. But first, we must jettison the Babel mentality of

Dr. Mark R. Shaw, author of Work, Play, Love.
Dr. Mark R. Shaw, author of Work, Play, Love.

excluding God from life, and, like Abraham, surrender our doubts to the one who knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. I cannot do his book justice here. I do highly recommend it for those who want a fresh biblical perspective on blending the areas of work, play, and love.

One idea his book has helped me realize more clearly is that the curse of work is a lighter burden if we are intentional about play and love. I hope you will be challenged to look prayerfully for examples where work, play, and love interact together. Then, incorporate them more fully into your callings.

Of course, some work is just downright dirty. Even so, there are possibilities. I think about the farmers in my family, who for at least five generations, have known hard work—sweat, bugs, dirt, wind, hail, broken machinery, etc. But through the years there have been lots of stories and practical jokes to lighten the load. Also, there has been love in small actions. I remember countless times Dad and Mom delivered milkshakes to hot and hungry hired hands, driving combines and trucks during harvest time.

Doorman Story

Here’s one more story of work, play, and love interacting. When I was young and single in Philadelphia, I daily walked four blocks to my office from the commuter train. One of my favorite routes went by a posh building with a gold-framed door guarded by aDoorman opens a door. doorman. Probably about five feet tall, the chubby doorman wore thick glasses and dressed in a uniform that had shiny gold buttons. He donned a spiffy, black cap. The doorman’s work, of course, was to open the door for the building’s clients, and he was seriously dedicated. But here’s what he did for me every time he saw me pass by. He tipped his hat respectfully and smiled like I was somebody special. It was easy to smile back at him! Work, play, and love were in motion together.

Nicholas Culpeper, Drunken Raisins and Scented Thieves

An oval white bowl of golden raisins glisten with a silver spoon set inside. Behind the bowl is a bottle of Seagram's gin.
Drunken raisins plumped with gin may serve up arthritic relief.

A friend showed me her bowl of golden raisins and declared an Octogenarian couple she knew ate nine raisins daily for years and did not suffer arthritis. Another friend told me about “Thieves,” an essential oil mix that one rubs on the bottom of the feet to boost immunity. She also uses the medicine in a diffuser. Her husband emphasizes, “It smells very strong.” I might be skeptical, but one cannot trump successful experiences. Conversations like these remind me of Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654). He is an antecedent to why our culture has such a tug-of-war between the medical establishment (think FDA and American Medical Association) and alternative medicine practitioners.

Curly, shoulder length hair with short bangs, upward turning mustache, wide eyes, and open serious expression describe Nicholas Culpeper, whose left hand holds a small book and his right hand sets on his hip in this portrait.
Portrait of Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) in public domain

In the 1600s, Culpeper actually failed his medical studies at Cambridge and was not licensed by the Apothecary Society in London. Those disadvantages didn’t stop him. He was a passionate herbalist, astrologer, and practitioner of physic. He was righteously angry toward establishment doctors and pharmacists who practiced medicine at exorbitant fees and kept medical writings in Latin. Culpeper disrupted their monopoly. He proceeded to translate 17th century medical information from Latin to English and offer his better receipts (recipes). One of his books, known today as Culpeper’s Herbal, remains in print. This nonconformist died at age 38 from pulmonary tuberculosis, but his legacy lives on.

Because doctors were in short supply in the colonies, many Puritan pastors used his book as they ministered to the sick. The popularity was such that The English Physician became the first medical book printed in the British American colonies in Boston in 1708. Its success helped make printer Nicholas Boone a rich man. To give you an example of Culpeper’s recipes in the language of that time,  I’ve included two “receipts” below from The English Physician by Nicholas Culpeper (edited by Michael A. Flannery, 2007, University of Alabama Press). The book includes a detailed and interesting essay by Flannery on Culpeper’s medical importance.

Also, below are recipes for drunken raisins and scented Thieves. One of the secrets to the raisin mix is the medicinal properties of the juniper berry, from which gin is made. The Thieves concoction has many different tales concerning its origin. One story claims that during the Black Plague era, robbers doused themselves in various herb and spice mixes, which they found protected them as they ransacked the homes of the dead.

Let me know if you have any success with the following home remedies. I wager you are more likely to run out and buy golden raisins and gin rather than an ox bladder!


From Culpeper’s The English PhysicianFor the Joint Ach, and the Gout, most Excellent:

Take the Juice of Sage, Aqua Vitae, the Oil of Bays, Vinegar, Mustard, and of an Oxes Gall, of each a like quantity, put them all together in a large Ox Bladder. Tie it fast, and chase it up and down with your hand, during one hour & half, then keep it for your Use, &anoint the griev’d part Morning and Evening.

From Culpeper’s The English Physician–For an extream Cold or Cough

A display with five shelves of various cold medicines.
How do we spell cold relief in 2016?

Take Hyssop Water 6 Ounces, red Poppy Water 4 Ounces, 6 Dates, 10 Figgs, slice them small, 1 handfull (sic) of Raisins of the Sun stoned, the weight of a Shilling of the Powder of Liquorice; put these into the said Waters, then let them stand 5 or 6 Hours upon warm Embers, close covered, but not Boil; then strain it forth, and put in as much Sugar of Roses as will sweeten it; Drink of this first and last, and at 4 in the Afternoon, four Ounces at a time.”


Drunken Raisins Recipe

1 box of golden raisins (do not substitute black raisins or dried fruit)

2 cups or more of gin–juniper berries key ingredient

Put raisins in a shallow glass container (378 raisins give you the six week supply).

Pour just enough gin over raisins to cover them.

Then, cover the container with cheesecloth or a paper towel and allow to sit at room temperature until raisins absorb the gin and the remaining liquid evaporates (about one week).

Store raisins in glass jar in refrigerator.

Each day, eat nine raisins. (Who came up with that number–why not 10?)

Believers say it takes six weeks to two months for this remedy to work, so experiment with patience.


Homemade Recipe for “Thieves”

In a dark glass bottle add the following essential oils:

40 drops of Clove Essential Oil

35 drops of Lemon Essential Oil

20 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil

15 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil

10 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil

1 drop of recipe is blended in 4 drops of carrier oil like coconut oil. At the first hint of a cold, rub on the bottom of feet at bedtime or use daily for immune support. Check out website below for ideas on other uses.



For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God (Hebrews 6:7–New King James Version).

Carmelite Monastery, Santa Clara, California (photo CSB)
Carmelite Monastery, Santa Clara, California (photo CSB)