With Victory Lap Retirement now finished I’ve set out on a mission to simplify my life. This past weekend I cleaned out the cave, aka my home office, where I do the majority of my writing. I managed to fill up a garbage bag with papers containing my thoughts and ideas, newspaper clippings, magazines, and books. I was so pleased with this process, I expanded this simplifying process to the rest of the house, and I am amazed by all the “junk” collected over the years. In many cases, I didn’t even remember how it was acquired. It’s not just physical “junk” that I will purge, but also the “junk” that takes up valuable space in my mind.
Today I would like to talk about how I found a way to discard grudges which are a huge time and energy waster.
“Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness, laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you cannot change.”
I have more time now to think and I’ve come to realize that holding a grudge is one of the most stressful, unproductive, and time-wasting activities. It can be damaging to your health, relationships and productivity.
I used to hold grudges, boy did I ever hold them. Part of the problem had to do with my highly competitive nature, something that I have finally been able to tone down, largely due to the start of my own Victory Lap.
In the past if I felt that I was wronged, or lied to, or taken advantage of, I had a hard time letting go and moving on. I know my response was not very productive, as I would usually not say anything. By nature, I really don’t like confrontation (just ask the Contessa), so I would quietly distance myself from the conflict, causing me pain and not addressing the issue. This does not provide closure or a resolution and is not a very good way to go through life. Matters are made worst especially if your problem involves your boss!!
Some grudges are caused by feeling we were wronged by an individual. The situation will only get worse if it is not acknowledged. If we decide not to deal with the situation, we may end up feeling victimized and the problem compounds the longer it goes, building anxiety and anger inside us, fueling our grudge.
My own example of this – I was packaged off, which as many of you know is never fun, but what bothered me was how it was handled. My boss called me to our head office, when I arrived he suggested that we go to our boardroom to discuss our marketing plan. That struck me as odd as there was plenty of room to work in his office and suddenly it hit me, “maybe they were going to retire me early”. Could I possibly be getting a package?
I followed my boss upstairs to the boardroom and to my surprise there was a young person from HR. I sat across from her and my boss took a seat right beside me and the process began. My boss was sitting beside me, maybe because they thought I might do something crazy or maybe have a heart attack. Who knows, but what I do know is that they had no idea about what I really wanted.
They did their job and I left the meeting. I‘m embarrassed to say this, but I faked how I really felt (maybe it was all that time spent in sales). When I got into my car I immediately called the Contessa and told her that we had hit the lottery!
Recently I realized the grudge I have been carrying around was not created by getting my “package”, but by the lack of communication between my boss and the process they followed. I still can’t understand why my boss didn’t take the time and just talk to me about my career and the possibility of getting packaged. I would not have had a problem with that, and in fact I would have welcomed it with open arms. The cloak and dagger and the surprise ending, left a bad taste in my mouth. What I now understand is that it is all about respecting each other as individuals and there was no respect in my experience.
The reality is that I was ok with leaving. I had kept my part of the bargain, I had worked hard and given everything over my career. In the end they followed a human resources “playbook” which protects the company, but forgets the individual. When I look back, all I really wanted was open communication, a thank you for my 35+ years of work and maybe a call from my big boss, but none of this happened. I know the process is set up to protect the employer and not everyone who receives a package is ready, but whatever the reason an opportunity to do the right thing for a long time employee was missed.
Don’t get me wrong, getting a package (money) is better than a retirement watch any day. I wasn’t going to retire, I was just moving on to something else and this just accelerated my departure date. It’s sad really when I think about it, as it didn’t have to be handled that way. I hope this blog touches one manager so that when a difficult situation like this arises, that they try and handle it with open communication before and during the process.
How to Forgive:
If you are going to forgive someone you have to mean it. But to be honest I have a hard time forgiving stupidity, greed or being downright mean.
Why should I forgive? I didn’t create the problem, but I did end up carrying the grudge.
And I don’t think you can truly forgive (at least I can’t) something that is unforgiveable. The worst thing you can do in my opinion is fake forgiveness. It’s just not a healthy thing to do. I think it’s more important to be completely honest and upfront about your feelings and then move on.
So to get that heavy energy sucking weight off my back, this is what works for me. I write about it. Every morning I get up around 4:30 am and write about something. Writing before I have my first coffee of the day, when my defences are down, the unguarded truth tends to come out. Sometimes I write about what is bothering me, maybe about a grudge that I have been thinking about. Writing my thoughts down this way is therapeutic and somewhat soul cleansing.
Once I have recorded my thoughts, expressed my feelings and relived the experience, I smile, crumple up the paper and toss it into the waste paper basket.
I did this recently for my own “package” experience and my grudge is now finally gone. I’ve successfully moved on, free to focus on better things.
Why didn’t I figure this out a long time ago?