How to stop hating people

Last summer, we had a food truck at work.

We have them a couple times a month when it’s warmer, and people from our whole building frequent said food truck, not just my offce.

(Also, as an aside, some days I’ll get something from the truck and return to my desk with a Styrofoam container or a little open food tray with hot food in it, and inevitably someone will say, “Oh, is that from the food truck?”

I realize I am the World’s Crabbiest Person, but this drives me berserk. Where else would it be from? Did you think I just make a Philly cheesesteak at home and put it in an open container for lunch? Even anticipating that question has made me so cranky that I spend my entire food truck lunch tensed up, waiting for 15 people to ask, “Oh, is that from the food truck?” At this point, I get something from the truck and put the usually open container in my car and drive home, just to avoid that conversation.)

But that is not why I’ve gathered you here today.

I’ve gathered you here to talk about forgiveness.

Last summer, the, you know, food truck came to work and parked itself in our parking lot. I traipsed out there, keys in hand, ready to get my food and scurry home, away from The Question, so that Edsel could say, “dat be frum fud truk?”

Anyway, the line was sort of haphazardly formed, and I saw someone I knew and went over to say hello. “Oh, is your food going to come from the food truck?”

The point is, this little

ASSHOLE

from another company said, “Ma’am? Excuse me, ma’am?”

He was talking to me. Don’t ma’am me, you little twit.

“I don’t mean to be rude.”

Any time someone says they don’t mean to be rude, they 100% mean to be rude.

“But, we were here? Behind you? You just cut in line.”

I mean, they hadn’t been behind me. They’d been clustered sort of messily in the general vicinity. But I said, “Oh! I’m so sorry! Of course!” and, humiliated, got behind them in line.

Three young boys they were, probably early 20s, although at this point early 20s and mid-30s look the same to me. Everyone I see under 40 has a beard and skinny jeans and I have no way of knowing if they’re edging toward male-pattern baldness or just got voting rights.

Seconds later, I am not even kidding you, SECONDS LATER, their young stupid friend joined them. “Hey!” he said, all happy to see a coworker, the way I was.

AND THEY LET HIM STAY. THEY LET HIM “cut in line.” Even though they’d just admonished me for the same thing.

Here’s what I have to talk to you about. That was last summer. I AM STILL LIVID.

I really am. I mean, when I even pass another door to another office here in this building, I think of that incident and burn right up. I don’t even smile when I see someone I don’t know in the parking lot, in case they know those horrible boys.

What I want to know is, how do people forgive real things if I can’t even get past the food truck incident? Like, how do Holocaust survivors forgive, and I’m over here still burning mad over millennials?

I’m seriously asking this. Cause, oooooo, I’m mad.

I’m also still angry over something that happened in 1981. There was a boy, Giovanni Leftwich, who like like liked me all spring and all summer and all fall, and he was constantly coming over and making his 10th-grade move and so on. Finally, over Christmas break, finally I came around to his side and liked him back.

We had two glorious 10th-grade-romance weeks, when out of nowhere he broke up with me. He didn’t even break up with me, really, he just disappeared, and I finally had to call him at home to ask what was up. “I don’t like you because you’re a flake,” he yelled, and I burst into tears and was brokenhearted and did my best to carry on and then

THIRTY-FIVE YEARS LATER

it dawned on me.

HE WAS THE DAMN FLAKE.

Oh my god, this sizzles my chaps. HE WAS THE FLAKE. He did nothing but hit on me for months and then when I liked him back? Oh, forget it. Never mind.

Okay, so tell me. How do you not sit around being livid about things that really don’t matter that much?

Also, is that from the lunch truck?

June

86 thoughts on “How to stop hating people

  1. Sorry this is late, but I had an incident where I was super pissed (not just regular pissed) and I could not get over it. My therapist suggested that I was mad at myself because I didn’t respond the way I wanted to respond and I didn’t respond in the way that I wanted because I was so shocked and humiliated at what had happened. And she’s right – when the thing happened, my brain just sort of stopped for a moment and I couldn’t think of anything to say but then once the shock wore off, I was mad that the incident happened AND I was mad that I didn’t get a chance to defend myself and speak my truth (that phrase makes me cringe but it’s accurate). Maybe the food truck thing pisses you off because you didn’t respond the way you wanted to because you were caught off guard and embarrassed, and then they had the audacity to let their buddy cut in, which only fueled your rage and humiliation. (And for what it’s worth, I’m pissed of at them for you because that was rude as shit.)

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  2. I’m struggling at work right now because there are people that don’t want to do anything, but they want to micromanage how I’m doing my job.

    I wish I could just afford to quit and find a job in a warehouse and wear headphones all day and unload trucks so I don’t have to deal with anyone’s shit anymore.

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  3. Coming to the party late but ever since your post about death I feel I need to post more to remind you I am still alive….

    A therapist I has a while back said something that stuck with me; when you ask why you do something you should be asking “what do I get by doing something”? Holding on being mad at someone who was rude must let you feel something you want to feel. Otherwise it would be an uncomfortable feeling and you would avoid it. That fact you can’t let it go means you get something by being annoyed.

    Unfortunately it is easy to ask the question but incredibly hard to put your finger on why you are so pissed at that car rental agent who refused to rent a car THAT I HAD ALREADY PAID FOR.

    S

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  4. Do you think that your incredible memory might play into this? You remember so clearly. The only other person I’ve seen like you is our Amy and she’s had 6 brain surgeries and oh yea Marilu Henner.
    It seems to me the way your brain works keeps events sharp in your mind. Almost as if it just happened. I imagine that could be a two edged sword. You get the good memories to relive too.

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  5. I wonder sometimes if part of it isn’t being angry at yourself because you feel you could have handled the situation differently. That you somehow should have known the boyfriend would flake (you were a teenager, how could you have predicted it then?) or that the food truck line bros would call you out. (It’s unlikely that you could have predicted that, either.) *Not* advice, just brainstorming here. Maybe write down the stories and change the endings. In the teenage story, put in dialogue that calls him out for pursuing you for months and then dumping you. Have it wrap up like an afterschool special, where he realizes he acted a fool and asks for another chance, but you turn him down and everyone learns a valuable lesson. With the food truck boys, since it could come up again, think about how you might react differently in a similar circumstance. “Oh, I think the line is pretty amorphous right now and I’m standing here with colleagues.” (I’m an introvert and I often think through situations ahead of time — what to say, where to sit, etc.)

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    • Now that I am older and noone’s negative opinion matters to me, I don’t hold grudges because I care so little about what that asshole thinks. I think I would have said “Pffffft”’to that little fratboy and either stayed there or moved to the end of the line, as my mood suited that day.

      As far as real forgiveness, my only real period of hate was when my ex and I divorced. It was not mutual – I filed for divorce, but I was not at fault. He completely deceived me and broke my heart. It was something that could never be fixed. And then when he left our house, he proceeded to badmouth me and turn our mutual friends against me. I spent the next two years hating him. But one day I realized that this hate was eating ME up inside; hurting ME, not him. And I let it go, for me.

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  6. I have done better with grudges since reading, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” This is not to imply that I will ever give or send business to the jackass who fired me eighteen years ago, but I am no longer wishing I practiced voodoo.

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    • Eh, I can carry a grudge like there’s no tomorrow. I never forget nor do I forgive. I may never, ever act on it and I continue to live my life just fine and I may even have a friendly relationship with that person but I will always remember what they did.

      I also don’t believe that you need to forgive the people who did you wrong.

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  7. The best thing I’ve heard is that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. They probably don’t even remember the event anyways and you only are hurting yourself. I say to myself “what a douche” and move on.

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  8. Another reply. As for Cardinal. It does matter. It did matter. If not you wouldn’t have that reaction (which is completely reasonable). You’ve already concluded he is a flake. What do flakes do? Yup. Do the other part. Choose to say “I forgive you and release you”. After time, when you’re making that choice, you will remember that crappy stuff and your reaction will be “Yup, you’re a flake.”

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  9. Well look here I can read your blog at work. so late to the party. and I have not read all of the comments.

    There’s forgiveness and reconciliation. Two different things. Forgiveness is a choice. Otherwise you wouldn’t give two shitz. Trusting God to do the ‘vengeance’ part. I say outloud “John Doe you are a *&^! for doing *&^!. I forgive you” (sometimes adding I choose to release the right to do you wrong). Maybe you have to say that a dozen times because you find that John Doe has done 12 shitty things. It helps to get specific.

    And you keep doing it. Because when you get to that moment where you think, dang, John Doe is a douche, and there’s silence in your soul, it is so entirely worth it.

    Reconciliation happens when Joe can say he’s sorry and will work on his issues.

    Finally, learning to set my expectations really helped. I used to think my ex occasionally lied. So I would be surprised! Dude! You lied! Then I realized he was a LIAR. What do liars do? Lie. What do dogs do? Bark. You would not expect Edz to never bark and get mad when he does. Properly setting expectations.

    Rinse, repeat.

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    • This is a great response. I come from a childhood tainted by my step fathers molestation. I no longer harbor any angry feelings. However I never want to see him again. Forgiveness is definitely different than reconciliation.

      As far as little hurts I usually just assume that everyone is wrapped up in their own world like I am in mine. I’m sure many times I have unintentionally offended someone. Still I forgive but don’t forget.

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  10. That story makes me mad too! I wonder why you didn’t say something to them when their friend waltzed up? I think I would have said something to them or just walked back up to my friend and joined them in line. There’s not much they could have said to you at that point. Had my daughters been there they would have been horrified by me, but I’m almost 50 and zero fucks left to give.

    However, that does not answer your question. I like to think I can let things go, but it depends on the person. If I like that person, I can forgive and forget. If I can take or leave the person, I can forgive but not forget. If I don’t like the person because of what they have done, I have a hard time forgetting and therefore have a hard time forgiving. So then I up just cutting that person out of my life. It’s not the healthiest way to deal with issues and I hate that seeing that person brings it bubbling back to the surface again.

    Again, not an answer to your question. I’m no help at all.

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  11. You have to let it go! If you don’t, it will eat a giant hole in you. You are giving the other person permission to torment you daily. I’m not saying it’s easy by any means… But give that gift to yourself, in that way, you are giving them the big fat finger!!

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  12. Forgiveness is about you, not about them. Being angry for long periods is terrible for your health. However, deciding not to be angry, intellectually, is not the same as actually not being angry. I have a couple of methods for getting rid of the anger. 1) Drink alcohol. Once loosened up, rant to a sympathetic ear. Getting it out, in person, does seem to help. Also, the alcohol seems to help. The migraine afterward may even help you process, I don’t know. 2) Distract yourself. When those angry thoughts come, do something else. Think something else. Sing a song. Get out of the habit of listening to the anger. Eventually, it gets bored and goes away.

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  13. I used to dwell on moments of exclusion or humiliation, trying to replay the event in my mind and think of how I wish it would have gone differently. I still do think about when I was let go from time to time, and it puts me in a bad place. The only thing that helps me put all of that negativity out of my mind is working out. I get an endorphin high and am too tired by the end to be sad. I just focus on how empowered I feel after completing the workout. I have three free passes a month–work out with me!

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  14. What does it say about me that I went into a tiny panic when I read the title of this post, thinking you no longer hated everyone?

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  15. By nature I find it difficult to hold a grudge. I always end up feeling pity for people who do the wrong thing because clearly they had NO HOME TRAINING or have a severe personality defect. Too, I find it takes way too much emotional energy and I just can’t be bothered. Seems like karma takes care of most of them way better than I could.

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  16. I need all of this advice as I hold on to everything no matter how much I tell myself not to. It’s just how you are wired sometimes.

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  17. I’ve always been pretty good at the forget part of “forgive and forget.” Not because I’m such a great person, but because I’m really just…forgetful.

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    • And see my motto is “forgive but never forget”. I can forgive someone who hurt or wronged me, but I think there’s value in remembering the circumstances so you don’t find yourself in the same situation in the future. Like I forgave my SIL for all the times she said she was going to do something for me and then didn’t, but it was necessary to learn – and remember – that she was unreliable.

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  18. Forgive me if I’m responding too much. This hits home hard for me. You asked for practical help not background philosophising, but I don’t want to go into another long paragraph or 3 about how I finally resolved a 30 year gaping wound unless you want me to. I do get it and I’m sorry these things happened to you.

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  19. Some of us by dint of genetics and/or early experiences are more sensitive to feelings of exclusion. I have a friend who would have said, “Geeze, what a pissant.” and totally forgotten it. I, on the other hand, would have been hurt and angry for years. We are who we are and we all have to learn different coping skills.
    My husband feels like Jen S. I feel like June. Different genes and backgrounds.

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  20. I love this freaking post. Yes, I would still be mad. Absolutely!

    I’ve finally given up on the notion of forgiveness after trying in vain for decades after I realized that I just frankly don’t have it in me. What I do have in me is the ability to hold a grudge the way a mother holds her firstborn child in her arms. Why should I give up something I’m so good at?

    It drives me nuts when someone says, “When you forgive someone, you set yourself free.” How the heck does that work? Do you just pretend to not be mad anymore? That sounds like bottling it up to me. Why not just yell “Serenity now!” while you’re at it and wait for the eventual nervous breakdown?

    In short, if someone wronged me? F them. If they genuinely asked for forgiveness, I would consider it, but anything short of that? Lose my number, bucko!

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  21. I read your post with a hurting heart, empathizing. I’ll tell you how it works for me.

    At the bottom of unresolved anger for me is a ball of shame/fear around feeling seen as unworthy of/unwanted by the group. This is real primal stuff.

    You attached to Cardinal. You formed a social connection that included you and helped define you and then he jerked that away, You were left outside. He as much told you you were unworthy of him and unwanted by him. Being left outside in primitive communities was life threatening. Your deepest self was shamed and scared.

    The guy in the line dissed you and sent you away. You were put outside the group, your friend and the people behind you and sent away. Then you watched another included in what was your space in line. HE was seen as worthy and wanted. You had not been.
    Anger is often a response to fear. If we turn the rock of anger over there is likely to be fear coiled up underneath.
    Anytime I feel excluded, feel laughed at, there is a very primal shot of fear that is experienced by any herd animal (as we humans are). Fear is an uncomfortable position of helplessness and we can turn it to anger so fast we never recognize the flash of fear that starts it. Fear is painful and less uncomfortable as anger makes us feel stronger and able to lash out.

    There are hurts that took me 40 years to heal. It’s a serious human task.

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  22. Here’s the sentence that changed my life:
    “Forgiveness is letting go of the hope the past could have been any different.”

    I had to ponder it and read it over and over, and ponder it some more but then it changed my life.

    It’s not the same as telling yourself the aggressor was “doing the best they could”. Instead, it is accepting that in that moment, that person was incapable of doing anything differently. It’s also not the same as letting them off the hook and saying it’s ok. What they did was not ok, but it was the only level they were capable of functioning at and/or only depth of insight they were capable of in that moment.

    It also doesn’t mean you become buddies with them, or pretend to like them, (unless they are someone you want in your life), or in any way tell yourself it was ok.

    So for me, letting go of the hope, or expectation that it could have happened any differently, letting go of the hope that that person could have been anyone else, letting go of the hope they could have figured out the right thing and done it instead, letting go of the hope the past could have been any different allows me to release the anger.

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  23. Maybe it is like memorizing your social security number. Replaying the scene in your mind burns it in there.
    My health depended on me forgetting my in laws and part of the family and I am still married to him. We both have to forget them because to dwell on it was making both of us ill. It is best for us to get on with living our life and thriving , sans them.

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    • We have so much rain that our huge 100 year old willow oaks are tipping right over so I’m afraid I can’t take any of your rain. GA doesn’t want it, my brother in Phoenix is under snow (!) and my friend in San Fran, NY and NH and Iowa have also had it with the various wets.What a winter.

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      • to 1 mad girl – I am in AZ under snow too! It is beyond ridiculous. Melting today a little – and still flurrys. Had at least 1 foot or more of snow… in Spring Valley near Mayer. I haven’t seen snow like this since I scrambled out of Michigan in the 70’s! Stay dry. I hope you can save those lovely oaks!

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  24. I would 100 percent have made new kid get to the back of the line so I wouldn’t need to get over/forgive that. In general, I tend to not get as irked by the little things so I don’t know if I can relate. The big things I probably am still not over, but I usually segue from mad to sad/disappointed/forever suspicious or what have you. Anger isn’t healthy obviously, so I hope you find a way to Elsa your problems more.

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    • I am sort of giggling because this whole comment seemed designed to make me feel even worse, but it was so transparently doing that that it amuuuuuused me.

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  25. I think you have to “Fake it until you make it”. When I got divorced I didn’t want the ex to know I was upset so I was the happiest camper on earth on the outside until the day came that I really could not have cared less about him. It gives me quite a happy feeling knowing that I haven’t given a shit about him in a very long time. That being said, I still get some satisfaction when I hear he’s having a hard time with something – Like his current divorce! Karma is a bitch but I like her.

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  26. I agree with what Tee said. It may take years to finally realize I’m hurting myself more than punishing the ones who hurt me. And something magical happens when I let go…they meet their own karma and it feels delicious.

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  27. Though your stories were a bit lighthearted, this topic resonates with me currently. I have a long-time friend, someone in my “circle” who has carried a deep grudge against me for a long time.

    An email from her this week brought it front and center, again, and I’m struggling with how to respond. Do I just smooth over the edges, or do a full on attack (which that idea sometimes roams around head), or something in-between? I still don’t know how to approach this situation, and would love to put it to rest for good. My challenge is partly due to how much she has changed over the years, becoming much, much more conservative and rigid in her beliefs, and I haven’t. I don’t know her any longer, and I miss who she used to be. Sigh.

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    • Carol, Cut and paste your reply starting at “I still don’t know….” and send it to her. What you wrote was perfect.

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      • Carol, I agree with Laura.
        I can say though that I have ignored and deleted a couple people that purposely hurt me.

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      • Thanks, Laura. I appreciate the comment. We never have all the answers, as the questions keep changing. Life is hard, isn’t it?

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  28. Dang maybe you and I ARE destined to be as one. I had to apologize to my softball team daily last season for getting mad at guys for asking me questions. I finally realized I was getting mad at them for asking me questions because I had ALREADY HAD the discussion in my head and when I got to the ballpark I was like “Dude, I just TOLD you why so-and-so isn’t going to be here today! GOD!”

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  29. I cut my step mother and half sister out of my life after they stole my father’s estate. I still stew over this as I have no way of resolving it.
    I have a very superficial relationship with my granddaughter’s mother. She was a malignant narcissist who lied constantly, stole from everyone including her four year old son, her work and her school, was shooting meth, in jail and more. A four year nightmare. When you are a grandparent, the court treats you (law abiding professional) like shit while the druggie parent gets chance after chance. Getting custody was ROUGH. I will never trust her and I cannot forgive the abuse and neglect of my grandchild. It doesn’t gnaw at me any more but I think it’s foolish to act as if I nothing happened.
    Ex husband was an asshole to our daughter so I blocked his number and have had two years of blissful non interaction.
    I guess I have no problem cutting shit people out of my life. It doesn’t feel like hate, it feels like throwing out a really smelly bag of cat litter.

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    • I totally have a Dead to Kelly List. 2 of them actually. One is tongue-in-cheek and the other is dead serious. I’ve had people tell me, “You need to forgive So-and-so and just put it behind you.” No, no I don’t.

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  30. I wish I knew. A couple years ago, I laid into a girl who was at my local watering hole. She was bringing up people from our class (we were in cosmetology together) and all of a sudden I was crying and yelling at her because they were SO MEAN TO ME in school. I mean here I was, like 40, crying over something from high school. But they really were assholes to me. I was a nerd and I was good in school and they weren’t. I felt like an idiot after that. My husband was like, why are you letting this bother you so much? He has no idea what it was like being picked on in school, he was a football player who dated a cheerleader and if we had been in school at the same time I’m 99.99% sure he would have picked on me too.

    But just now Texas Kari up there made me realize that those girls were jerks because we were teenager and teenage girls really are the worst and I guess I need to get over it.

    Boy was that helpful or what?

    Insightful post, lovely Joob.

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  31. I agree with what Love, Jimmie said. For me to forgive I have to see the humanity in the person somehow. I have to tell myself a story about what they were thinking, why they reacted that way, why they said what they did. If I can find an explanation I can believe and sympathize with it helps me a lot. Sometimes the only explanation I can come up with is that this person is mentally ill, and I don’t mean that disrespectfully. I have people I love with mental illness and sometimes it is the only explanation. For example, in the line thing, if I imagine that kid who scolded you was cringing the whole rest of the day knowing he was being petty and knowing their friend cut in line right afterwards it helps me to forgive him. I mean I would have been cringing.

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  32. This may be completely off the mark, but based on the two examples you gave and how I imagine myself feeling in those circumstances, I think it has to do with feeling shamed, humiliated, or defeated in the process of being hurt. I can forgive someone stepping on my foot, or breaking a vase of mine, for instance, and even some much more egregious things if they are done under circumstances where shame, etc. aren’t involved. If you trigger that shame/humiliation reaction in me, I can’t get over that.

    I’m finding it hard to verbalize what I mean, but an example is that 18 years ago a young lady came to my door and said she was a daughter of the people across the street and she was locked out and could she hang out here till her parents got home. There were 3 teen girls in that family, I didn’t know any of them well at all, and this kid looked enough like them that I believed her. Until she ended up grabbing my purse and making a run for it when I wasn’t paying attention. I’m still mad at her, even though I didn’t end up losing much money or stuff and wasn’t hurt physically…it turned out she was doing this all around town and hurt a few older people by knocking them over. But what still makes me furious about her is that I willingly let her into my house, she took my hospitality and made me look like a fool. Me with my years of banking experience and crime prevention classes so I thought I didn’t fool easily.

    Anyway, my long dissertation that may not apply to anyone but me. For me, forgiving those people would have to mean curing myself of feeling shamed/humiliated/deceived/tricked. I don’t know how to do that.

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    • I think, too, there’s a difference between someone expressing remorse about something they did to hurt you vs the anger you’re left with when things remain unresolved. I can forgive easily when someone asks for forgiveness. But leave me stewing and I’ll stew for decades.

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  33. I struggle with this, a lot. Finally, I had to decide if I was going to carry around all the anger and resentment, to the detriment my physical and mental health, or learn to let it go and forgive. It is an act of my will, so I have to choose to forgive. Believe me, it doesn’t mean I always forget it, but I must forgive. How many time have I been forgiven for stupid stuff I have done or failed to do? A lot, daily, hourly.

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  34. I don’t have any advice, mainly because just reading your story about the food truck assholes has angered me and will continue to do so at least for the rest of the day. I hate everyone. Have a nice day.

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  35. Back in the early 90’s, my husband and I were friends with most of the members of a white dude Zydeco band, and their respective partners. This one particular birthday, my husband unbeknownst to me had invited a bevy of other friends to join us for a surprise birthday party for me at a little dive bar where our band friends were playing that night. It’s important to point out that I have always had a serious body image problem. I look back at photos of myself when I was seriously suffering with self loathing, and think JHAYSUS CHRISTO…I was super cute. But somehow at the time, all I could think was how FAT I was. I was in fact, chubby. But I was gifted with fabulous hair and skin (back then, not now …) and there was just no reason for me to hate my own appearance as much as I did. But, I digress. So at one point in this party for me, one of the lovely, lovely young men friends in the band calls me up and wants to dance with me as his band mates play on. Horror of horrors, I went up and danced with him in front of everybody. When the music stops, he gives me a big ole smack on the lips and on microphone says, “guys, let’s give L some love..line up to give her kisses!” And one of the guys in the band says, ON MIC, “Oh yeah. Let’s get THAT line started.” The way he said it, dripping with sarcasm, made me want to just VAPORIZE! Now in truth, it was a loud and rowdy place, so how many people besides me actually heard that, I can’t say. However, what “I” heard Rick REID say was that “L” is FAT, SHE IS NOT kissable, and that somehow I was gross.This event took place in probably 1992. 1992! It’s not like I think about it daily, monthly, or even maybe yearly. BUT, when I DO think about it, I am jettisoned RIGHT BACK to the seething rage (that replaced the initial feeling of being mortified by it) that I felt all those years ago. A few years later, we had a chance meeting with RICK, and he was skeletal. He had contracted some sort of parasite that apparently was not easily treatable. I should have felt sad for him, but didn’t. Two weeks ago, I encountered him for the first time in YEARS. Mostly all that group of friends has scattered to differing parts of the US., but we are all still bound by a fairly notorious character, and he was celebrating the 25th anniversary of doing what he does. Most of us were in attendance. When I heard someone saying that Rick was on his way, all I could think was that I would just have to do my best to avoid him. Avoid him I did, but he sought me out and gave me a big hug. I was left wondering if I confronted him about what he had done to hurt my feelings all those years ago, would he even recall what I was talking about? Lord, lord…I can SURE hold a grudge!!

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  36. Oh, and Giovanni Leftwich was a 15-year-old tool. He hurt you specifically. so it’s easy to be angry at him still. Your heart may have been 15 but it still hurt. That carries some emotional weight worthy of anger. I always say, “Rise above. Don’t let him see you sweat.” The opposite of emotion is indifference. I aim for that rather than hate. I’m not sure this is relevant but I thought of it.

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  37. Wish I had some good advice, but I could right now pull out of my wallet the note that my high school boyfriend had his friend deliver to me at my study hall table that read “I think that we should like brake up, OK? And see if we like it, OK?” I’m not sure if I’m more angry that he would BREAK UP with me in such a cowardly fashion or that I was madly in love with someone who was a bad speller. We dated for two years. I DESERVED BETTER PAUL!

    Yup. Still bitter.

    I love the “YOU’RE A FLAKE” story. I mean, what high school girl ISN’T a flake?

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  38. I can be a horrible grudge holder as well but I am working on it. I know it is not healthy at all. Sometimes it is somewhat necessary, well that may be the wrong word. Sometimes if it’s a huge issue like the way my sister-in-law made the death of my in-laws 100 times worse than it needed to be. I did not keep her as on the lupe when my husband got very sick. She did tell him using hodpice is giving someone a license to kill you! I was not there when it was said and I was steamed. I recieved a sympathy card but not one phone call. It’s sad but I don’t trust her so…Sometimes it’s necessary.
    I told someone who stole my best friend in grade school off a year or two ago. It felt great. It had stuck in my craw and now I am free of it. Maybe tell someone off it’s a big one?

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  39. Just this morning I was imagining what it will be like when I get married again (I’m saying when, not if). In my imagination my husband was a real a-hole and I got to have righteous indignation over him being a jerk, which I hated but kept imagining. It was like I couldn’t stop myself. So I deliberately thought, what will it be like if he is wonderful? I tried that on for a little while. But before that, I was really mad at an imaginary person whom I have not yet met. Basically I’m saying that I get you.

    A few years ago, my ex-husband asked me to forgive him for being such a turd when we were married. He really was one. I realized when he asked me that it only hurt me to not forgive him. It was only tearing me up inside. He was responsible for tearing up his own insides but if it gave him some peace for me to forgive him, so be it. I think I’m far better at being less angry when I’ve had a human interaction with a person, one where I see their humanity or vulnerability or whatever. I wonder if you ever had an interaction with those people where you both got to see each other’s real personalities, if you’d feel better in your gut about it. I can be an angry heifer until I get to know them, then I feel like a dirtbag for being so angry. To me, it’s all about relationship. (Not that I would necessarily want one with those young whippersnappers, but if I were forced into to one, say.)

    I’ve been practicing taking opportunities for not being an a-hole myself. I told my mom last week when meeting with a real estate guy who put me on his email list after I expressly asked him not to, “this is an opportunity for me to not be a jerk when I really want to be one to this guy.” I was not and it turns out he was sweet as pie. Older guy with his jeans ironed and starched into a pleat so sharp he could cut you. He tried to do the moonwalk for my nieces. He was in cowboy boots and had swoopy hair. He was delightful and I would have never known that if I had come out swinging like I wanted to. (This story written for me, not as advice.)

    Anyway, I will be avidly reading what others have to say here. I also wanted to say that the photos of you at the Biltmore were great. You looked so pretty. Great hair/makeup/outfit day.

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  40. What llbrat said. most of the time too, there was no intention to irritate and what do you want back from the offender anyway? His head? Nah. It’s hardest for me to forgive a deliberate action against me, but those happen really infrequently in reality. We all bug somebody at some point. We all tell people to get over themselves. We need to get over ourselves also. Sorry for preaching. I have been through a long process of growing up in this. You get better at it, but it’s never short term and it’s never easy. God bless as all.

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  41. Good Lordt, what IS IT about men and lines?! Unless everyone is squished between narrow aisles of ropes making it impossible to move in front of others, they will FIND A WAY to wiggle ahead. Are they clueless or misogynistic, or BOTH?! Do they not recognize that persons can be grouped together and yet still be able to sort themselves into a line when necessary? Siiiiigh.

    For me it helps to remember that forgiveness is really a gift to yourself more than the other person, especially when they are clueless they did anything wrong in the first place, like your millennial line cutters. If I’m going to waste time stewing it sure won’t be on dumb dudes. It also helps me to consider what was age appropriate behavior at the time. Giovanni Leftwich was a turkey because 15 year old boys are turkeys. All of them are. Knuckleheads one and all!! I mean have you had the *pleasure* of being in the company of any 15 year old boys lately? [Big eye roll here. Huge!] He was a child still and children rarely know how to purport themselves in situations requiring nuance. Maybe that will help you, June, maybe not, but I gave it a go. 🙂

    That phrase “I’m not trying to be rude, but…” should always be followed by “…I’m going to ANYWAY!” It’s the worst.

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  42. I like to not call it a grudge (because then I feel better about myself) even though I tell myself what assholes they are if I think of them. I tell myself life is too short to waste my time trying to make nice with people that obviously don’t like me or don’t have respect for me. Then I feel better for strongly disliking them. Rationalization is my super power.

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  43. I too can hold a grudge with the best of them but as I am aging (44) I find I can forgive stupid things that young people do. It doesn’t stop me from getting on my soapbox but then something will flash from year ought ’91 that I did like: falling over drunk into a full length mirror and having my best friend pick glass out of my back with tweezers the next day, only have my mother walk into my bedroom and think it was some romantic tryst….and unceremoniously fall off my soapbox and I forgive the young person for their ignorance.

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  44. I don’t have any groundbreaking advice or solutions to offer, because I deal with the same shit. I am a master grudge holder, and despite realizing that the object(s) of my hate don’t even realize my disdain for them, I still can’t let it go.

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  45. I was rudely and unceremoniously let go from a job that I loathed, despised, resented, hated, etc., which resulted in me finding my current job, which I adore. (I mean, as much as one can adore having to get up and work every day just to live. I’d much prefer to be on a yacht, being pampered. But I digress.) I have never forgiven anyone at that job. I wouldn’t spit on them if they were on fire. I wasn’t even appeased when I got unexpected money from the company. Didn’t matter, I hate them all. I will say it doesn’t eat at me on a day-to-day basis like it did at first, but I am certainly not over it. Five and half years so far. HAAAATTTE.

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    • Paula, my husband lost his job after 36 years at the same company. It was awful and he was so angry for several years (men don’t hold on to things like women). He started his own company, which was one of the best things possible, in retrospect, at the time we didn’t think so, but he tripled his income in three years and answered to no one (except me). He had a friend tell him he needed to write his old company a thank you note.

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  46. Someone once told me that you should let go of any dispute that is older than 30 days – advice that I could appreciate but rolled my eyes at so hard that they went into low Earth orbit.

    But then one of my aunts gave me advice that actually worked for me – if something or someone pisses you off, imagine that they are smugly enjoying your anger, prancing about while delighting in how they were able to get you to react. That pretty much trained me out of my habit of grumbling over slow drivers, stale popcorn, tight jeans, gloaty ex-boyfriends, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

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  47. I definitely catch myself carrying around residual rage over stuff that happened long ago. At some point I’ll remember to consider whether the offending party is thinking about the incident or me for that matter. The answer is always “not once”. Realizing that I’m the only one wasting energy on this feud sometimes helps me let it go.

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  48. I have the same problem. I stew. I can’t let things do. Will be visiting comments over and over throughout the day to see if someone gives some sort of lightbulb moment advice that will save me from myself. It’s one of the traits about myself I hate the most.

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