We all have that one sweater in the back of our closet that we can’t seem to get rid of. It has rips and stains, but for some strange reason it is still hiding away on that shelf taking up valuable space.

Just like that sweater, have you ever held on a grudge for so long that it has weighted your shoulders? You have a hard time letting go because somehow this grudge has defined you – with anger and victim mentality – and gives you a sense of purpose. But have you ever considered how much negative energy you have carried by simply holding onto this grudge? Think about how much weight can be lifted off of your shoulders just by learning to let go. Letting go of that grudge by practicing forgiveness can lead to a healthier and happier life.

Acknowledge what hurt you.

It is perfectly normal to hold a grudge. We all do it. Some of us learn to let go and some of us hold onto them for a lifetime. It is important to take time to acknowledge your feelings and the grudge that you are carrying. Allow yourself to feel the pain necessary to move forward.

Remove that hurt from your mind.

If you are currently holding onto a grudge, you probably have someone in mind. That someone wronged you in some way, which has caused them to appear in your thoughts, and even in your dreams, and that can be draining. Set yourself free of that person. If this person appears in your thoughts, simply learn to push those thoughts aside. That negative presence is not worth sacrificing your happiness and well-being.

Accept what is.

Maybe the reason why you are holding onto this grudge is because you are waiting for an apology; you are looking for closure. It is likely that you are waiting for something that will never happen. Why wait? Instead, accept what is and learn to find closure within yourself. Stop reflecting on the past, focus on the present and what to look forward to in the future.

Reach a state of forgiveness.

Reaching this state can be hard, but it is the most important. It takes time to heal an open wound. Now you are probably thinking, “how can I forgive someone who hurt me?”, but this forgiveness starts within yourself. It starts with learning to love your own self. If you can love yourself enough to know what you deserve and what you need to let go of, you are well on your way to the finish line – forgiveness.

To let go of that grudge, you need to change your focus. You need to learn to not dwell on the ones who have wronged you, and move your attention to what is most important – your heart. Your happiness and well-being is worth so much more than anyone who did you wrong. Learning to let go of that negativity will allow space for a more positive, fulfilling life.

Just like that old, raggedy sweater that is taking up space in your closet, grudges can do the same in your life. Let go, find peace and closure, and make room for something better.