Here is more goodness and insights from John Welwood. His book “Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships” has been pivotal in my personal growth and understanding of relationships and love.
“The most destructive element in human relationships is the urge to make other people bad or wrong, and then judge, reject, or punish them, for that.”
~ John Welwood from Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships.
Do you recognize this? I certainly do. It’s how many of us respond when we feel hurt by someone else’s words or behavior. We want to get back at them and punish them for being mean and making us feel bad. We feel justified and hold onto this anger and resentment, because it makes us feel more empowered, stronger, and compensates for how helpless and small we really feel inside.
It’s the ultimate booster for our ego and protector of our heart. Unfortunately, when we hold on to the sense of grievance, our heart stays closed. He continues :
“Nursing a grievance – treating our intimate partner, as someone to get back at, or resenting how badly life or other people have treated us – is a self destructive act. For in wanting to hurt or reject someone or something we resent, we unwittingly wind up hurting or rejecting ourselves at the same time…
Most of us are unaware of how invested we are in our grievances and how much they govern our life. To set things right we need to recognize how much we hold on to grudges – and to understand why…
Every grievance has its roots in old hurt about not being fully loved and old frustration about not being able to do anything about it… The mind holding on to grievance is like a full time sentry guard whose job is to remain on the lookout for emotional threats from other people…
The mood of grievance shuts down the channel through which love could enter into us, cutting us off from its healing and regenerative power… It is often hard to let ourselves receive love even when it is available. To let love in requires us to melt.”John Welwood “Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships”
To heal ourselves, and let love in, we have to melt. Oh boy! After protecting ourselves for so long, letting down our guard can be astonishingly hard. Opening our hearts, makes us feel unsafe and vulnerable. When the ego feels threatened, it can come up with renewed righteous indignation added to the old grievance. This becomes our truth. But it is not the truth.
The answer lies when we begin to look within and recognize the wounds of of our own heart, rather than shoring up our own defenses and looking externally for someone to blame.