Grudges and boundaries often appear similar, but they are in fact quite different.
Grudges are a form of punishment. It is constantly holding something over another person’s head, not letting them recover from a past failure. It is not acceptable that people can grow and learn from mistakes. Grudges are toxic to relationships. We are all human beings, meaning we are entitled to do things that others are not okay with at some point or another. Grudges prevent someone from moving on from past wrongdoings. They prevent the other party from repairing the relationship. It is a lack of forgiveness and acceptance.
In an article from New York Times, Luskin explained that,
“whenever you can’t grieve and assimilate what has happened, you hold it in a certain way. If it’s bitterness, you hold it with anger. If it’s hopeless, you hold it with despair. But both of those are psycho-physiological responses to an inability to cope, and they both do mental and physical damage.”
A grudge often leads to burnout because it is the result of internalizing strong emotions and failing to decide what to do. It is like stepping on a piece of gum and not being able to move forward without that bump on the bottom of your shoe. A boundary is wiping that gum off, accepting the evidence that it was once there, but moving forward without that bump.
Maybe your partner forgot about an upcoming dinner which left you feeling upset and hurt. If you hold a grudge against someone, you would bring it up every time you sit down for dinner. You’re overwhelmed with worry that he, she or they will forget. A boundary would be telling your significant other how upset you were. You would learn what happened to them and why they missed dinner. After that, you would figure out how to prevent it from happening again. If they need a morning reminder, a phone alarm, or something else, work together to resolve the issue rather than burying it. Grow together and learn from each other to strengthen your relationship.
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