While watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey this season (comprehension of this post is not dependent upon viewership of the show) and observing the terrible grudge that has transpired, virtually separating a family, I find myself questioning my future interest in the show. While watching these two sides bicker I find myself becoming heated, furious at the fact that these adults are allowing this to occur, that they are allowing an entire family to become divided. The adults are causing the elders distress and separating cousins and future generations all because of a misunderstanding basically brought on by personal insecurities that resulted in a disagreement.
I couldn’t help but think of the RHNJ’s families as I sat on the steps at my Great Aunt and Uncle’s cottage on the 4th of July. An overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation came over me. These were the same steps that I sat on every 4th of July when I was a young child and my father when he was a child and my grandparents when they were young parents. How fascinating, right!? I mean to think that all the memories made and treasured by each generation could have been nil if my grandmother and her sister had let a grudge fester. If that had happened none of us would even know each other now. I would not know that not only are our cousins beautiful on the outside but on the inside too. I am so grateful for the behavior the past generations in our family have exercised and modeled for the present generations.
Now don’t get me wrong I understand that quarrels happen in families. Shoot, just the other day my sister and I got into a disagreement about the weather. After a few minutes we apologized and vowed to only discuss religion and politics from that moment on, lol! I realize this was just a small quarrel and sometimes an olive branch isn’t enough, sometimes you need to extend the entire tree. No matter how you start, with a leaf, branch, or tree it is important that you do it!
The health issues affiliated with holding a grudge should be reason enough to extinguish any animosity and practice forgiveness.
Research has shown that the stress that accompanies suppressed anger resulting from unforgiveness can lead to mental and physical health problems. Some studies have even suggested that trait anger directly increases a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Source
But grudges are not limited to families. They occur in friendships, with neighbors, community members, etc. too. Ever come across someone you haven’t seen in years and they say the most peculiar thing to you? Like they have been holding onto something for quite some time? But when they explain it you have no recollection? Either they remembered it wrong or perhaps something did happen in the past but you didn’t realize it bothered them. Either way it is in the past. How sad that they allowed it to build up and fester for all these years. It really is ashamed because the only person they harmed was themselves. Now imagine if they had simply confronted you years ago. Kindly acknowledge the issue and you could have had a discussion and settled all misunderstandings, apologized, and been forgiven. That individual could have then had moments, situations, events in life back…the ones in which they had allowed their own anger towards you to rob themselves from possible joys.
Like the Matthew West song lyric states….
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
Do you know of a family that has been affected by a grudge? Have you ever held a grudge, how did it make you feel? Do you need to extend an olive branch? Or, maybe you wish someone would forgive you? Please share…this is a no judgment zone you words will be met with kindness and understanding.