Elemental Love work: Grievance

Posted on July 20, 2008
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I’m reading Perfect Love: Imperfect Relationships by John Welwood as part of my love work. One concept he discusses in this book is Grievance, which is an inability to let go of how people hurt you, but also a means of empowerment, of feeling righteous and better than those same people. It was actually quite timely when I read this because I was feeling fairly greivous last night about a couple of matters, and after reading the chapter on grievance I recognized what I was feeling for what it was.  While feeling Grievous I did feel empowered if only in the sense that in my bitter complaints I could justify my being right over whoever I felt was wrong, and yet afterwards as I read that chapter I realized I’d been pretty unfair and judged those people fairly harshly, and without really being able to say I knew them. So last night has given me a lot to consider about what I was feeling grievous about and what kind of internal work I can do to help me process and let go of it.

Something else I realized is just how good it can be to have someone to speak with about this stuff. Lupa and I had a long discussion about first the grievous feelings I felt and then who we considered close friends. It was an illuminating conversation that helped me appreciate her because of how much more empowered I felt being able to really be vulnerable and speak of and to the emotions that underly the greivous feeling I was initially experiencing. The true power of love, it seems to me, is to be able to be vulnerable and open, to really see yourself as well as being seen by someone else.

When I think about my history with grievance, I have to say that I have held onto grievances longer than it was worth doing so. I’ve managed slowly but surely to let go of some of them, which is a victory for me, but there are still some I’ve held onto and it’s really a covering for the actual wound that the grievance is scabbed over. Still, even managing to let of some of those grievances is a step in the right direction. Now knowing more about grievance, I have some direction for my internal work…and perhaps will get better at releasing grievance as a result.

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