To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it. – Confucious
The origin of my grudge began two years ago at my local pub—Miss Villeray—one block from my apartment.
A couple of friends from my hometown were visiting me in Montreal. We decided to stop by Miss Villeray for a few drinks. Of course I’d been there several times before; the location is convenient, the atmosphere is laid-back, and the clientele is unpretentious.
My buddies and I were having a good time downing a few rums and shooting the breeze. I was in a great mood. I left our table to order three drinks at the bar. I ordered in French since this was, of course, French Canada. I had been living in Montreal for a year so my French was decent, but not perfect.
The bartender poured the drinks and I handed him the cash. He placed the change into my open hand and said (in a broken English accent), “You know you must leave a tip, right?”
I looked up at him in disbelief. “Excuse me?” I said.
He told me that tourists didn’t often understand the concept of tipping.
“I’m not a tourist,” I snarled in French. “And I always tip.” I dropped a few loonies on the bar and asked, “Is that enough?!” in my most obnoxious and sarcastic tone.
I was pissed off. Who did this jerk think he was?
I ‘researched’ Miss Villeray’s Facebook page the following week. I learned that the bartender who had served me was a manager. This infuriated me further. I sent an angry email to the pub, in French. When someone pisses me off I often fight back with the written word and my laptop. I’m super tough, I know.
Needless to say, I never got a response to my letter. The pub’s unwillingness to acknowledge me was the final nail in the coffin. I resolved to never, ever, go back to Miss Villeray.
Yesterday afternoon I was out for a walk. As usual when I take one of my long walks, I pondered. I reminisced about the visit with my hometown buddies. It was hard to believe it had already been two years. Then I recalled my dispute with Miss Villeray; I hadn’t thought about it in months.
Then I thought about one of my current projects: obtaining my personal and professional coaching certification. I’ve been learning about the idea of awareness. Being more aware of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state of being means I’m constantly discovering new areas of my life I want to improve on. The process of becoming more aware can be challenging, since it often means admitting my flaws.
It didn’t take my engineering degree to figure out the math to this problem. I had been holding a grudge against Miss Villeray for way too long.
When I returned from my walk I asked my girlfriend if she’d like to go out and grab a beer before dinner.
“Sure,” she responded. “Where are we going?”
“What?! Why?!” she stammered. “I thought you wrote that place off forever?”
“I think it’s time to let it go,” I said. “And I feel like a pint.”
Twenty minutes later we were sitting in Miss Villeray drinking a beer.
The atmosphere was laid-back and the clientele was unpretentious, just like I’d remembered. And guess what? The bartender was friendly and when I paid the bill she didn’t even lecture me on my tip!
Are you holding onto a silly grudge like I was? Does your stubbornness often hold you back from moving on with your life? Are you hesitant to let go because you’re afraid it means that you’re conceding defeat?
My advice to you is be who you are, but don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong.
I know I’m stubborn; that will probably never change. But it means I need to be aware of when to let things go. Life is too short to stand by stubborn principles. I was holding a grudge against a pub a block from my home because one employee made a rude comment to me two years ago. That’s just ridiculous.
A grudge is like a ball and chain attached to your ankle; it can only slow you down. The worst part is over time you forget it’s even there. You learn to live with it and accept that it’s a normal part of your life.
The secret to letting go of a grudge is being aware of its existence. After that, all you have to do is let go.