Opinion: Grudges affect students mental health


Jayalakshmi Ramanujan

Graphic by Jaya Ramanujan

Holding a grudge occurs when one harbors anger, bitterness, resentment or other negative feelings long after someone has done something to hurt them. Usually, it’s in response to something that’s already occurred. Other times a grudge may develop after simply perceiving that someone is against you.

Grudges have effects on mental health in negative ways and can impact your feelings and how you treat others.

“I think it causes you to see things in a very negative and unhealthy way, which can affect how you feel, think and how you behave and treat others,” Kelly Clohessy, mental health professional said.

According to verywellmind.com, grudge-holding can adversely impact your mental health in a variety of ways. Most importantly, harboring anger will, generally, just make you feel angrier. Instead of accepting and moving on from a negative experience or finding an acceptable resolution, holding on can trap you in a loop of resentment, bitterness, hopelessness, emptiness or enragement.

According to Forbes, when you harbor resentment for a long time, it festers into a grudge, harming you more than the other person. Research shows harboring resentment erodes your mental and physical health, consuming your thoughts, keeping the hurt at the center of your daily activities, weighing you down and depleting energy that could be channeled into more positive and creative directions.

Grudges can even morph into depression, interfering with job productivity and disconnecting you from coworkers, friends and family.

“When we hold a grudge, what we’re doing is we’re holding on to anger, or resentment, or pain that they’ve caused us. So when we hold on to that, when we see that person, we’re feeling anger or resentment and pain,” Clohessy said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness means different things to different people. Generally, however, it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.

“How we keep our emotional wounds clean is by staying positive, acknowledging that you may have these negative feelings, but knowing that they don’t have, you could just observe those feelings,” Clohessy said.

Grudges can easily be avoided and healed by communicating with your mind.