How to Hold a Grudge From Resentment to Contentment Book Summary

The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life


The first time I heard about this wonderful book was from an Instagram post by Kinokuniya. The title intrigued me. Especially at a time when I hold a lot of grudges, for the right reason (I presumed), against a lot of people who done me wrong. Now, after reading the book, I knew better. And some of the grudges makes me giggles when I think about them.

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Seems to be a good title?

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This was the first time I’ve heard about the book.

The book offers more than I can possibly write. Wonderful read indeed. This ultimate guide will give you all the tools you need to analyze, process and embrace your grudges in order to be your best possible self.

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Sophie Hannah is a best-selling crime novelist explains how to hold grudges happily. Interestingly — she confessed to being a grudge guru, and she does provide a grudge grading system and a way to process the frustration of a grudge into life lessons. Includes in the book are many of her personal grudge-worthy moments and her healing process.

Inputs from experts in the field also add believability to her book. She does provide ways to reach, identify and process our frustrations. This book not only beneficial for our personal life but also our work life as well. Now, hopefully, my notes on the book could help you, the reader, as well as it does help me.

Definition of a grudge

Traditional definitions of a grudge are negative but they don’t have to be. Hannah argues that holding grudges can increase our ability to forgive.

The book defined grudge as a true story of something that happened to you and caused you pain or injury. Your grudge might come from an event that you continue to hold onto for any period of time. After the first spike of emotions end – remember don’t go out of your way in search of revenge. Valid grudge meanwhile should help us to be wiser and more powerful – and maybe make you laugh (in the future of course).

Grudge-fold Path

Grudge-fold path refers to where you hold a grudge, and then forgive and move on while still holding your grudge. This will teach us to learn how to use grudges to make our life much healthier and more positive.

How do we know that we can hold a grudge?

There’s a grudge test which is designed to help us to determine whether and how we hold grudges. The way we respond to certain scenarios shows which of four types of grudge-holders we might be.


You tell a friend of yours that her brother scratched your car, lied about it and refused to pay for damages.

Your friend response that it doesn’t matter since your car is already beat-up.

Now here are your options are:

  1. Cut off your friend and her brother.
  2. Believe her brother’s behaviour embarrassed her which caused her to be defensive, but you’ll talk to her about it.
  3. Assume that your friend felt regretful about getting defensive and forgive her instantly.
  4. Continue your friendship with both while understanding that neither cares about how you feel or about taking responsibility for their actions.

Now, what does your choice means?

  1. If you select the first option, you may be “The Cut-Off Queen (or King)” and too straightforward when situations require subtlety. 
  2. The second option indicates that you’re an “Empathetic Analyst” and ready to give people the benefit of the doubt. But some people may not deserve it. 
  3. The third option shows that you’re an “Easy-Lifer” who doesn’t want to rock the boat.
  4. The last option means you’re a Grudge Guru who has the ability to create and define grudges. You can take care of yourself without removing people from your life. When necessary, you might even pretend to like people whom you don’t particularly like at all.

Explore multiple wide-ranging types of grudges

Grudges appear in a range of types, including

  • the unprovoked attack grudge,
  • the unreasonable imposition grudge,
  • the ill-judged joke grudge,
  • the betrayal of trust/dishonesty grudge,
  • the underestimation grudge,
  • the political grudge,
  • the invalidation; and
  • the ingratitude grudges.

Selfie grudge intrigued me the most. It is the grudge we hold against ourselves for something we did. Ouch.

So, remember to treat yourself as fairly as you would other people and always forgive yourself after procession your grudge. Since. the most dangerous lie is indeed the one we told ourselves. Hence, be kind to yourself folks.

The rules of the Grudge-fold Path

The first step – acknowledges the wrong done to you and this will helps you process it. We don’t need to repress negative thoughts since it’s only natural to feel bad when bad has been done to you.

Know that by acknowledging what happened — we’ll be able to move on.

The 10 guiding principles of the Grudge-fold path:

  1. Realize that some people will always make you feel angry or betrayed.
  2. Be upset about this but acknowledge it without feeling guilty.
  3. Don’t let negative thoughts consume you. Recognize the thoughts and such thoughts will move on. I’ve read some wonderful point on this on Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.
  4. Recognize the need to remember what happened, but know that you won’t take action against the person who harmed you and you won’t continue to feel bad forever.
  5. Understand that you need to make something lasting of what happened to you. Hence, decide to create a formal grudge.
  6. Before you create the actual grudge, prepare your grudge cabinet — a physical box, drawer or special place to store your grudge stories and lessons learned. Somewhere private if you’re a shy guy like me.
  7. Create the grudge and document it in a way that doesn’t harm anyone. But it’s for you to acknowledge and commemorate it.
  8. Rank and categorize the grudge, and put it in your grudge cabinet.
  9. After these steps, your anger will naturally evaporate. You can then forgive the person who committed the offence without fearing that it will be lost to the fog of time.
  10. Repeat the process as necessary when new grudge worthy incidents occur. Keep your grudges responsibly until you decide not to keep them anymore. See your grudges as a source of power and insight. 

If we were to let a grudge goes unprocessed – it’s likely to wreak havoc in your life. And that’s my friend, is a lousy way to live your life. As we going through the process and remove bad feelings attached to the grudge – we will become more efficient at handling our grudges.

Categories of grudges

The process starts by identifying our grudge — which is in one of the three de-escalating categories of grudges.

  • P1 — Grudge that can harm you and others.
  • P2 — Grudge that no longer ignites strong emotion. Even if you may ideas and judgment about the grudge – you definitely don’t want to harm the person that’s done you wrong.
  • P3 — Grudge has faded enough to be instructive now or to make you laugh because you’ve internalized the lessons that experience teaches you.

By categorizing this grudge emotion, we can process all our grudges to turn the P1s into P2s and P2s into P3s. This will be a life-changing emotional evolution of our life.

We have the choice — to work on ourselves first or our grudges first. But, it’s better to work on grudges first. Reason being, leading with the idea that we need fixing might discourage us while belittles our experience in handling and processing the grudge. We need to acknowledge that we just a tiny part of the problem. Now, in order to start, pick one unprocessed grudge which could take up to two hours for the first time.

However, as with everything else in life, we can get better with practice.

Here’s the step to do it:

  1. Write a story about why you hold this grudge.
    Your story can be long or short and in either the first or third person. Detail how the person who harmed you and the incident fit into your world.
    Your writing can express your emotions, but it shouldn’t be just paragraphs full of anger.
    Simply tell the story of what happened.
  2. Leave it overnight or longer.
    Either completely process each grudge individually, or write up initial descriptions for several grudges in one sitting.
  3. Read the story, and find places to add humour.
    By inserting humour, you change the energy to positive, which softens angry feelings.
  4. Consider which action you would change and how.
    After you add humour, which could sometimes is difficult, then consider which of your actions you would change and how.
  5. Save a copy of the original story, then rewrite it with the changes and the new results.
    Your story is fiction now, so end it any way you’d like.
  6. Read your original story and the fictionalized version, consciously noting the differences.
    The question of whether your anger stems from feeling powerless to go back in time or from not doing the “Right Thing to Do” (RTTD) at the time. Knowing this will further dissipate any hatred for the harmful person and help your desire for revenge fade.
  7. Recognize and accept that you can’t change past actions, and you can’t change other people.
  8. Internalize the RTTD principle.
    Let go of what you may have done or should have done.
    Concentrate on the present. 
  9. Search out and act on current RTTDs.
    Take this action with the intention of righting a wrong not seeking revenge.
  10. Learn something from your story.
  11. Be grateful for what the event taught you.
    You may feel grateful that it happened or, at least, you might be able now to identify how it made you stronger or smarter.
  12. At the end of your two stories, write how the situation benefited you.
    If the other individuals or groups paid a price for their actions, write it down.

However, if your processed grudge seems to maintain its traumatic P1 grudge status, then keep reading the two versions of your story and reflect on the RTTDs that you did as a result.

Highlight the things we wish we had done but that is no longer possible to do – let them go. Review the lists of what’ve we learned and the insights for which we are grateful for. Then, once our grudge level has been raised to P2 or P3, fold the paired stories and put them in our grudge cabinet.

Remember – don’t actively seek out revenge. Once we acknowledge and honour our negative feelings – they will become more positive or disappear!


Avoid bad or invalid grudges.

First – Do no harm

Our grudge shouldn’t cause harm to us or another person. Our goal is to reduce the negative feelings connected to our grudge. If the grudge makes you want to act out — process the grudge or throw it away. We can do something to neutralize the grudge instead of clinging to it and we should.

Invalid grudge?

Processing grudge is important but most of us hold invalid grudges. If you do — process and try to understand why they aren’t valid.

These invalid grudges come in various types. One type is the Scrudge which deals with anger about things in the past, present or future. Sounds like the name of a Terminator movie right? However, holding a pre-grudge of possible future wrongdoing makes no sense.

Another interesting one is Shield Grudge is one type of invalid grudge you carry when you decide not to like someone even though you don’t have a valid reason.

Meanwhile, toxic grudge causes you or other people harm even after you process it. This toxic grudge creates anger within you whenever it comes to mind.

Group grudge is where you paint all members of a certain group with the same grudge. Logically, we can’t hold a group grudge against everyone named Katherine, just because one Katherine did you wrong. (Example from, An abundance of Katherines by John Green which is one of my favourite novels). However, you can hold a group grudge against people who aren’t grateful enough since, by definition, their behaviour includes them in the group.

Another important point is that your grudge must be your own – not others, not even your family.

The Scapegoat grudge or Inappropriate Extrapolation Grudge occurs when you transfer a grudge onto an innocent because you fear to be angry at the person who deserves it.

Creating gratitude grudges

As we write, process, and upgrade our grudges from P1 to P2 to P3, we might notice that some of those grudges no longer valid, maybe the person might apologize, or we might look at things from a wrong angle when we angry. Or maybe, the fault was ours, to begin with. Hence, maybe then, we might laugh at it.

Writing and keeping gratitude grudges whose purpose is to re-frame the story we tell ourselves, include the wonderful things that the people who have hurt us, might have done to us, their kindnesses which worth commemorating. This personal narrative, not only have a significant impact on how we handle grudge, but also important for our emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.

Hence, offset all your grudges by adding something positive. Retell the story. Take control of your narrative.

The book offers more than I can possibly write. Wonderful read indeed. This ultimate guide will give you all the tools you need to analyze, process and embrace your grudges in order to be your best possible self.

Buy The Book


Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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