Grudge

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Suppose you’re angry on Tuesday because someone stole from you on Monday. On Wednesday that person returned what he stole, compensated you for the inconvenience, apologized, and credibly promised never to do it again. If you’re still angry on Thursday, you are said to be holding a grudge.

Plenty of people say grudges should be abolished. They are irrational, lead to unbalanced retribution, and hurt the holder of the grudge. I’ve said so myself in my book, The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad. It’s one of the many ways that victims get wrecked on the road to reconciliation and fail to find peace. But an article in The Boston Review by Agnes Callard caused me to reconsider. She says holding a grudge is a perfectly rational thing to do. Could this be true? Continue reading

Ambivalence

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Two heads are better than one; you get multiple perspectives. Two eyes and two ears are better than one for the same reason; plus, you get a spare. Two legs and two feet are better than one, so you don’t have to hop everywhere you go. Two hands are better than one, so you can hold your coffee as you find your keys. Two parents are better than one, so one can follow the energetic toddler when the other is ready to drop.

But, two heads on the same body? That’s just weird. Isn’t it better to be single-minded? No one likes to be ambivalent and unable to decide, do they? It’s painful to sit on a fence, racked by doubt, hesitancy, and indecision. You’d rather be resolute and stay out of a muddied, hazy, confused quandary. Continue reading

You Can’t Stop Thoughts from Knocking at the Door, but You Don’t Have to Answer

Old Posts

Every day I work as a shrink I hear someone say the same thing, “I wish I could stop my thoughts.” They’re talking about intrusive thoughts. The kind of thought you wish you didn’t have.

I wish they didn’t have these thoughts. These are usually destructive thoughts, thoughts of drinking, drug use, gambling, violence, worries, or needless self-recrimination. I wish these thoughts didn’t exist, or that they’d go away to wherever thoughts go. But they can stop them if they understand the thought stopping process and practice it whenever they need it. Continue reading

Envy

Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

Envy is not a rare feeling, but it’s a rarely acknowledged one. No one likes to admit they’re envious. Instead, they’ll call it some other feeling: anger, injustice, resentment, sadness, hurt, puzzled, lonely, bored, or jealous, among others. But, if you have ever been unhappy that someone had something you don’t, you were envious; admit it. Continue reading