I don't believe in holding grudges. If something happens that makes me angry, I try to address it right away. Sometimes I'm justified in being upset, sometimes I'm not. If I'm not, I can usually talk myself out of whatever snit I'm in, applying the These things happen explanation, or some such acknowledgement that sometimes things don't go the way we'd like them to.
If I'm annoyed with someone, I decide whether or not it's worth it to say something about whatever it was that annoyed me -- most of the time it's not, so I just let it go. (Really and truly, too; I don't stash stuff in a 'war chest' that I can open when I'm well and truly pissed.) But if I decide I need to say something, I try to do it right away, and I try to approach the person as gently as possible, because no one likes to be criticized, right?
Over time I've learned to let more and more things go. I've realized that most people aren't important enough to me to let whatever they say or do have much of an impact on me, so there's no point in me figuring out how to say something, or agonizing over what to say. (This relates tangentially to the dust-up on the TWoP board recently; I really didn't put all that much thought into the way I said my piece because in all honesty, I don't really care that much. If I had thought for an even a moment that I might hurt someone's feelings I would've written with a much different tone -- but over on TWoP, there's generally very little consideration for feelings... except when there's lots.)
I try not to stay angry, and generally succeed, but this week I realized that I am still capable of holding a grudge. Right now, the person I'm needlessly mad at is myself, and no matter what I do, I keep slamming right back into this huge wall of anger.
Why? Well, I cut off the tip of my left index finger the other day, and since I happen to be left-handed, the consequences of that are myriad. I've become adept at 9-finger typing, but there are a host of things I can't do easily now: eat with utensils, write, floss my teeth, wash dishes... the list is endless. Worse, holding my arm and hand down by my side for more than 5 seconds causes excruciating throbbing in the finger. I've had 4 major (major!) surgeries in the past 4 years and a host of minor procedures, and this is by far the most painful injury I've ever sustained.
Another one of this week's lessons: constant pain impairs my ability to think, and obliterates my capacity to empathize.
I inflicted this pain on myself, carelessly, thoughtlessly. I have enough pain in my life, I do not need more. I certainly don't need pain of this level for this duration. On Thursday, I took the good drugs (prescription painkillers are so cheap!) and they do work on the pain, but I can't drive when I'm taking that stuff. So, none during the day. I also don't sleep well on it, either -- so none at night. I'm making do with extra-strength Tylenol, and it works pretty well, as long as I keep my hand elevated. (Even keeping the hand at keyboard height starts to get painful after 10 or 15 minutes.)
I'm assured by various relatives that the mangled finger will grow back, but I don't care. As long as I have a functional hand, I'll be fine. I'm looking forward to the time with the pain subsides from excruciating to the point of requiring drugs to merely annoying and easily ignored. I know it will happen eventually... it just seems as if it's taking forever to get there.
In the meantime, every time the finger inadvertently brushes up against something, my anger at my own stupidity is renewed. With interpersonal grudges, I've always run out of fuel after a while; it's hard to stay pissed at someone you're not seeing or talking to. With dozens of reminders of my own idiocy every day, my anger is staying fresh and hot. So far my attempts to get out of the cycle have been useless: It has happened to a lot of people, it's not so bad, etc, hold no comfort. I did a stupid thing and now I am really suffering, and I deserve it because I was so careless.
I tired of this pain and this anger, both. But I do not think I will be rid of either while the other remains.