Buddha is often credited with saying, “holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Variations of this quote can be found across all cultures and highlights the widely accepted fact that holding on to resentment, blame and anger slowly erodes our health and well-being.
People often believe that in order to forgive, the wrongdoer must earn forgiveness by apologizing and taking responsibility for what they have done. We fear that letting go of the anger will somehow absolve the other person of all of the wrongs that they have committed. We hold onto grudges out of a sense of duty and obligation to hold them accountable and pursue justice.
Amy Sobelman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW #74242) with over a decade of experience treating adults, adolescents, and children suffering from addictions, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression and trauma. She has worked in residential, outpatient, and private practice settings.