Jul 14

5 Awesome Ways to Let Go of Bitterness

let go of bitterness

It feels much better not carrying around any anger and bitterness

Many of you know by now that I’m a big basketball fan and the hottest news over the weekend in basketball was LeBron James’ decision to return to the team that originally drafted him 11 years ago, his hometown of Cleveland.

For those of you who do not know the background of this ongoing saga, James spent the first seven years of his career as a Cleveland Cavalier and even led them to the NBA finals at one point but failed to win a championship with them.

On the summer of 2010, he became a free agent and being considered the franchise player, was expected to re-sign with the team.  He surprised everyone by coming out with a one hour sit-down interview dubbed “The Decision” where he announced the now infamous line “I’m taking my talents to South Beach to join the Miami Heat”

Cleveland was stunned.  Owner Dan Gilbert denounced James publicly; Cleveland fans went on to burn their LeBron James jerseys as a sign of displeasure.  What was once considered the team’s top superstar was now considered its biggest villain.

Four years have passed and LeBron, after winning 2 championships with Miami, has decided to come back home and I was really impressed with how he handled it this time around because there was no bitterness in him despite the circumstances.

Unlike LeBron, many of us still hold grudges with the people we had a falling out with and we try to hold on to the bitterness for as long as we can.  For some it can even take years or decades before finally letting go.

There’s a lot we can learn from the whole LeBron-is-coming-back-to-Cleveland thing which we can find beneficial especially to those who still harbor hatred in their hearts for something that happened in the past and here are some of them:


Leave the past behind

One of the things that keep us from moving forward is our tendency to live in the past. We seem to get stuck with what happened a year, five years, or even ten years ago when we had a misunderstanding with a friend, a shouting match with a neighbor who said bad things about us, or even a spouse we separated from.

It is in our nature to remember pain more than any other feeling.  That which caused us the most hurt tends to stay in our minds for as long as it can but it doesn’t have to be that way.  What’s done is done and no one can change that but you can change your attitude towards it.

Stop living in the past.  Live for today and look forward to the future.


Take the high ground

When I was in elementary school, my friends and I would often get into fights with one another because of the most stupid reasons and these spats would often last for weeks all because we’re all not willing to make the first move.

Don’t you find it odd that even as adults, we still act like children when it comes to forgiveness?  Actually, adults can be much worse because as adults, we have bigger prides.  Sometimes, a simple sorry doesn’t cut it for us doesn’t it?  It’s as if we want to see the other person work for and beg for our forgiveness.

It shouldn’t matter anymore who makes the first move.  If you want to live a happy and productive life, you got to have peace of mind and you can only achieve that if you start to let go of bitterness.


Be humble

LeBron is hands down the best basketball player in the planet today.  With 4 MVPs and 2 championships under his belt, a man of his stature can pretty much have anything he wants including the team he would like to play for.  But in all his greatness, he chose the team who chastised him, booed him, and openly took shots at him over other teams who had better offers.

He could have easily ditched Cleveland, rub it in their faces that they can’t have him after what they did to him but no, he didn’t do that.  James admitted to his mistakes and so did the Cavaliers organization.

Sometimes, humility is all it takes to fix a damaged relationship.  If you think highly of yourself and expect more effort from the other party to win you over, reconciliation is far for being achieved.

We all make mistakes and we should all know how to accept those which we’ve made as well of that of the person we’re holding a grudge with.


Remember the good times more than the bad

Most of the people we hold a grudge with are those whom we had a good relationship with.  If you will notice, you hold a much bigger grudge on a friend who betrayed your trust than a colleague who backstabbed you.

While it does hurt a lot more if the person who caused you pain is a loved one, take comfort in remembering the good times you had with this person.  Does the number of good times you shared really outweigh the one misunderstanding you had?

Sometimes, we tend to focus only on the mistakes the other person made without putting into consideration the good things they’ve done for us.


Bitterness will hold you back

Holding a grudge for as long as you can will affect you in the long run.  It can affect your job, your family, your life.  If you want to live a positive life, you have to fill it with positive things and get rid of the negative.

No amount of positive thinking can help you move on if you still have anger and hate inside you.  You may not notice its effect but sooner or later, these negative feelings will manifest in your relationships.

This is not only true for grudges against other people but it is also true for grudges you hold against yourself.  If you can’t forgive yourself for a mistake you’ve made in the past, how can you expect progress in your life?


It’s true what they say that time heals all wounds.  The healing process may take long but you must know in your heart that you won’t be staying where you are your whole life.  You have to know that at some point, the bitterness and grudge would have to go away and you will do this because you want to be happy and you want to have peace.


Over to You

Have you been holding a grudge against someone for the longest time? How do you plan on moving forward from this bitterness?

I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below.


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Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions

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