As a parent, one of the greatest lessons that I try to instill in my two teenage children is the importance of letting it go. You got into an argument with a friend … let it go! You got a bad grade … let it go (but improve next time)! You were on the wrong end of a bad call on the field … let it go!
As I tell them, holding on to those negative feelings hurts no one but yourself. It starts to taint how you respond to the most innocent comments. It starts to make you question yourself, your own self worth, and your decision-making ability. It can turn a good mood bad, really quickly. And those feelings can last for a long time, if you let them.
I always remind my kids about an old episode of “Dragon Tales,” a kid’s show that we used to love watching together. In this one episode, one of the dragons was upset and “holding a grudge.” They demonstrated this so perfectly, with a little gremlin-looking character – a “grudge” – sitting on the dragon’s shoulder. As the dragon continued to hold on to his anger, the grudge got bigger and heavier. It quite literally began to weigh him down. It changed the way he looked, physically. And it changed his outlook, the way he saw the rest of the world.
Sound familiar? It certainly does to me. In fact, I’ve become acutely aware that not only do I need to continue to reinforce this lesson for my kids, but I also need to heed that advice myself. At work, at home.