Why do we furiously resent the minor insults but forgive, or at least let go, of the major ones? Why do we let those close to us insult us in ways we’d never take from a stranger? According to the study authors, it’s because we can afford to.
If the hurt is minor, we can let it fester. If the pain is major, we find ways to calm ourselves down. We do similar things when we are physically injured. A gunshot wound can cause us less overall pain than a bad back, because we go to the hospital when we’re shot, while we’re perfectly content to wait for weeks before we seek treatment for a bad back… When something becomes too much trouble, or too painful, for us to put up with it, we take steps to alleviate the pain. This happens both physically and mentally. If holding a grudge means we have to be angry and miserable for a long time, we find a way to stop being angry. If we just suffer a little annoyance, we allow it. Or sometimes we even enjoy it. –Esther Ingliss-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a festering grudge that initiates the conflict and drives the plot.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a grudge you are holding on to and why.

Art Prompt: Holding a grudge

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience why they hold on to grudges and how they can let go of them.

Photo Credit: Katie Brady on Flickr

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