DEAR HARRIETTE: Honestly, I've been holding a grudge against a woman in my town, Cindy, for over a decade. I never forgive, and I think that there's no point in me ever needing to interact with this woman after what she has said about my family and me.
A mutual friend of ours has moved into the area and is dedicated to reconciling us. I do not consider Cindy my enemy, but I do hate her. Our mutual friend constantly tells me that Cindy is a "good person" and asks me if I would want to be judged by my actions from so long ago. I do not ever want to speak to Cindy, and my friend will not butt out of my business. Should I cut her off? I feel like someone who talks Cindy up this much could not be a friend of mine. -- Holding On, Salt Lake City
DEAR HOLDING ON: The thing about grudges is that they eat you up inside, even if the reason you are holding onto them is because somebody did you wrong. Forgiveness is so important in life because it frees you from being tormented by whatever the misgiving is that occurred.
Forgiving Cindy for speaking ill of you and your family does not mean that you forget, nor does it require that you be friends with her again. But if you are able to release the negativity that you have been holding for so many years, the two of you may walk through the world more lightly.
As far as your friend who continues to badger you, ask her to stop. Tell her that you will make the effort to forgive Cindy, but you have no intention of being friends with her again. Remind her, if necessary, that this is not her business.