Holding on to your anger harbors resentments that end up only hurting yourself in the long run. When you let go, you allow yourself to move on and heal. Keeping anger in your heart is like keeping a wound open—it causes pain and infection, which only hurts more the longer you let it fester. Letting go is a gift we give ourselves. When we let go, we give ourselves permission to move forward and live our lives in peace.
On the topic of letting go, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Our old ‘shit’ is so precious to us. We tenderly harbor our old resentments and periodically throw them pieces of fresh flesh to keep them alive. We nurture our anger. We don’t do anything to work it through or let it go, we just hang on and nurture it. And we wonder why we feel so stuck and held back in our lives.
When we hold onto old shit, it weighs us down. It is as if our feet are stuck in fresh tar.
There comes a time when we can see that it doesn’t really matter what someone has done to us, our holding onto it is hurting us not them, and if we want to heal, we had best take our old shit and fertilize the flowers.”
It’s easy to understand why we choose to hold onto our anger and build these resentments in our heart. We replay the injustices against us in our head over and over again, view them from new angles, and find new justifications for our hurt and anger. We are each at the center of our own story; we view ourselves the hero or protagonist of our lives. We like to believe we are right—whoever likes to be told that they’re wrong?—and holding on to our anger feeds into this narrative. What many of us don’t realize, however, is that we are poisoning ourselves. Anger is toxic, it eats away at us over time. By harboring resentments, we are hurting ourselves. It might feel good in the moment to revel in trespasses against us in order to justify our own rightness, but it feels far better to have peace of mind. Rather than fan the flames of anger, spend time watering your own flowers. Allow your garden to grow. Success is the best revenge, after all.