I have been harboring a secret grudge.

Via Bernadette Birney
on Jun 16, 2011
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Ishvara Pranidhana.

I have a confession to make:

I have been harboring a secret grudge.

The reasons behind my grudge aren’t original.  It’s an age old story:  blah blah blah best friend blah blah blah betrayal blah blah blah heartbreak blah blah blah fury.

You can probably relate, right?  I know you can, because people are not loving and loyal all of the time.  Not even me.  Not even you.  Someone once betrayed you, or broke your heart, and left you with a world of rage to simmer in, right?  Or am I alone on a limb out here?

Listen, do not think for even a moment that I am innocent in this story.  No matter how many times I indulge myself in a narrative in which I have been done wrong, it just ain’t the whole truth.  The larger truth is that I picked this person–let’s call her Daisy–to draw into my closest confidence.  I ignored all kinds of evidence that this might not be a great idea.  I continued to stay in the relationship–even when it became increasingly clear that my well being was not a priority.  I am the one who didn’t pay attention to clear signals.

The thing about my grudge is that it eats at me.  It gnaws at me sometimes before I go to sleep.  Sometimes I have conversations with Daisy when I’m in the car driving–alone.  I argue with her the shower.  In an instant, a single thought of her can fill me with a white hot fury, or revulsion.

I recognize that no matter how much yoga I practice, I am not exempt from any part of the human condition.  Rage is every bit as much a part of the human experience as joy, or peacefulness. I have studied too long with my teacher to not understand that.

But it’s enough, now.

I have spent enough time affirming my rage.  It’s time to let it go.

I want to forgive.  Not because I’m such a big person but because antipathy is toxic.  Hostility is just a bad plan.  It’s like chugging down poison in hopes your enemy will fall down dead.  (I believe Lauren Zander of The Handel Group deserves the credit for saying that.)

It’s easy enough to practice what I preach when it’s easy. It’s when it’s hard that the rubber hits the road, and this is hard.  This grudge runs deep.  I recognize a part of myself that could hang onto it forever, and keep it polished up like a trophy to the great injustice that was done to me.  It’s a test of my mettle is but I am not going to be that person.   I  will affirm my feelings–to be fully human I have to really feel them–but I also refuse to sit in them forever.

Good old Oprah; watching this video actually really helped:


Hey, if there’s anyone up there listening–can you please help me to let go of this?  I’m tired.  I don’t want to carry it around any longer, and I’m having a hard time putting it down.

I surrender, okay?

Thanks for your consideration on this matter.

* * *

(Do you have a grudge or resentment that you’ve struggled with but ultimately successfully let go of?  How did you do it?  Or, is there something that plagues you that you want to be free of?  You’re not alone.  Leave a comment below, and read more of Bernadette’s posts here.)


About Bernadette Birney

Bernadette Birney is a dyed-in-the-wool, freedom-loving tantrika. When she’s not busy conquering the world, taking hostages, feverishly freelancing, working on her book, and posting on-line essays, you can find her practicing the art of life-on-purpose, and teaching in Connecticut. / Bernadette has had the good fortune of studying with the great ones: she’s a certified Anusara yoga instructor, and has long pestered her Rajanaka Yoga mentor, Douglas Brooks. Known for her poetic and precise articulation, she insists that you can maintain a hard-core yoga practice and a sense of humor, too. Her classes, immersions and trainings are steeped in a life affirming philosophy that will invite you into the exploration of your own potential. / Bernadette was one of the earliest Certified Anusara yoga instructors in CT, and continues to mentor the local teaching community, leading trainings and retreats. She has contributed to Yoga Journal, Fit Yoga, Elephant Journal and Srividyalaya Amrta. She is also a Lululemon ambassador, and the author of the quirky, award-winning blog berniebirney.com .


13 Responses to “I have been harboring a secret grudge.”

  1. nancy says:

    great post B! I recently let go of one of those grudges and it feels SOOOO much lighter. I forgave the person and let it go. Not easy though.. took me almost two years

  2. bernieb says:

    Good for you, Nancy! Seriously, I believe this is some of the deepest, darkest, hardest work we do. XO

  3. dan says:

    Until I find the deeper cause (for me usually a sense of powerlessness or vacancy) I don’t see why and to what I’m clinging, and then I can find the space for that idea/whatever to exist without more input. I may (er, do) ignore the deeper issue entirely, but its usually easier to deal with the next time similar situations come, so there is some melting.

    I use ‘blaming oneself’ as an opportunity, an aggravating, sometimes wonderful way to find a solution, seeing what I can and can’t effect and what processes I can implement to bring light. But this seems to work more by trial and error, of course slower than grace, but something. It would be interesting to read any resolution to the author’s anti-Daisy sentiments.

  4. Candice says:

    I love this. I love your writing style, the blah blahs and the photo!

  5. bernieb says:

    Thanks, Candice! (:

  6. bernieb says:

    This is so well spoken, John, as usual. Yes, isn't true that the things that REALLY enrage us are often ripping off scabs of some older wound, or habit, or pattern? Thank god for good company, and the ability to substitute new more affirming patterns! Thanks for being such wonderful company yourself. XO

  7. bernieb says:

    I'll keep you posted. (:

  8. Louise Bennett says:

    I am struggling with this right now – my sister – apparently suffering from a personality disorder – walked out of our house about a year ago and hasn't spoken to us since – we have no idea what we did – she even defriended me on FB etc – blocked me in fact – she went on to rant on FB about her boss and other people – I found this out in a roundabout way – I don't really feel like I should make the first move – but I wonder if I am not mandated to do so by my practice of Christianity. Still struggling.

  9. Reader says:

    "blah blah blah best friend blah blah blah betrayal blah blah blah heartbreak blah blah blah fury."

    Yeah, that's a great hook; I'm going to read on for sure.
    Dumbass journalism is spreading like wildfire, espeacially on this site.

  10. tanya lee markul says:

    Love it Bernadette! I really love that you mention that you didn't see or listen to the signs – I think when we start to become more 'awake' more conscious, whatever, that our intuition becomes much stronger. We just have to be willing to 'see' and listen. Thank you! Looking forward to more!

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  11. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  12. O is for optimism and thanks for sharing the ever optimistic Oprah telling this story. I think it's great that you found this when you were looking for a solution to your angst. Life is good. Just ask Oprah. Hilary

  13. Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.