I don’t know how to be one of those people who doesn’t hold grudges and lets things go.

Years ago, there was a guy who called a bunch of my friends “celebutards.” I am still mad about it. When I see him online, I want to punch him in his putzy mouth. Who says those things and gets away with having a career as a respected businessman and speaker?

I want to do better. I work with plenty of men and women who chant “Namaste,” pick their battles wisely and let things go. How do they do it? Well, I asked around and here’s what I learned.

Love the person you hate.

It sounds like a lot of hokey crap right there, but loving the person you hate the most can temporarily trick your brain into de-escalating difficult conversations. When you love someone, even if it is a lie, you develop an understanding of someone else’s feelings. Greater awareness allows you to forgive and move forward.

Love yourself.

I have some jabronies in my industry who drive me crazy. I don’t understand how they kick ass and take names while I am slugging it out in the eighth circle of hell with a bunch of HR ladies who still don’t believe in Twitter. Turns out I’m the stooge. People who love themselves in life don’t settle for second place and act like martyrs. They love themselves too much to waste time on people, activities and endeavors that get in the way of their bigger plans. Love yourself. Make grander plans. Moreover, if people around you don’t rise to the occasion, look around and find new people.

Be a giver.

Your brain can only manage a few activities at once, and it’s tough to hold a grudge when you’re giving time or money. Every single person I know who’s worth a damn in this world is extremely kind and generous with their cash and attention. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you can’t let inconsequential things go. When you give of yourself, you transcend yourself. That’s a crucial step in letting grudges go.

Be honest.

People who hold grudges avoid conflict. The worst is when they lie to themselves and say they don’t avoid conflict. Not every disagreement can be resolved, but if you’re honest with yourself, you learn the difference between resolution and avoidance pretty quickly. Me? I like to write people off. In some cases, this has been the right strategy. However, sometimes I lack the courage to have tough conversations about important things. It’s my goal to be more honest and straightforward during challenging moments.

I’m not about to forgive the guy who called my friends “celebutards” anytime soon. But I’m ready to let the grudge go. (Well, okay, that’s a lie. I’ll only let it go until the next time I see his name on LinkedIn.)

Honestly, that’s the best I can do. But it’s progress.


  1. Laurie,
    My father who only had a 9th grade education taught me more about managing people than anyone in my career. He was my unpaid management consultant until the day he passed away. One of the things he always said was to never carry a grudge. He said when you do that, you are only hurting yourself. The old comedian Buddy Hackett put it best when he said, “Never carry a grudge, because while you’re carrying the grudge, the other guy’s out dancing.” Be well.

  2. The hardest thing to do is to love someone who really ticks you off, but I understand the reason for it. I have been trying to practice some of these principles myself and I have been able to see some things from the other person’s point of view or at least know that I don’t know everything else that’s going on in his or her life that could be causing strife. I do the same as you do…I write people off too. For me, it seems to be the best way because I can let myself get bogged down by other people’s issues and for me, just cutting loose is the best way to deal with it. It may not be the best way overall, but I’m trying!

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