The uniform characteristic of a grudge is the unvoiced desire within the injured for the injurer to personally experience the degree of emotional harm their actions gave rise to. It is the restless propulsion to transfer their suffering to the person they perceive to be the source of it. Well considered, they are seeking a distorted form of “compassion” for the other to “feel what they feel”.
From experience though, what I realized this aspiration is missing is the honest desire for the other to grow through the experience. Usually, the terminal point of the grudge is desire for the other to suffer endlessly. Beyond that, there is no wish. That is why it consumes because the desire for another to suffer without a goal is like wishing for an injury without convalescence…it is just boundless agony with no relief in sight. Trapped in a room with no fresh air that, through repeated recycles, eventually becomes stale and starts to weaken the system. In the end, both parties collapse.
But then it boomerangs home! Because the focus merely on enforcing the mutual suffering on another means our primary focus is not even on growing through the situation. If it were, we would also wish that on another, because you can only give what you are. None of this is easy, nor will it happen overnight. But the firm commitment to grow as the first priority will work like the Spring Sun that gradually thaws out the lingering ice of winter. Slowly but surely.
Personally, the first step to forgiveness has always been marked by the momentous question… “What internal qualities is this experience meant to help me develop and refine?” When you put the onus on yourself, a new world opens up. After a while, I dare say you even become grateful for the experience. But the way there can be quite long. Despite this, the more committed we are to growing, the easier and quicker the process becomes. Eventually, through steadfastness, we will reach the goal.