Painful words and actions can leave long-term feelings of bitterness. We want nothing else but to get past them, but is it that easy?

Settling arguments is easier said than done. When we’re holding grudges, we retaliate by playing pranks, responding rudely to requests, or talking behind people’s backs. They give us a sense of personal authority over the situation but doing so brings more risks of intensifying the conflict. Lindie Liang of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada recommends using “symbolic retaliation” to help us get over our grudges. Try writing an aggressive email to the person involved without sending it to vent your rage. But do keep in mind that this is just an outlet for your anger. No amount of vengeance can compensate for a genuine act of forgiveness. Director Karina Schumann of the Conflict Resolution Lab at the University of Pittsburgh explains that restoring self-humanity through forgiveness brings more positive feelings and emotional benefits.

“Forgiveness makes us feel more moral – that we’ve acted in this elevated way – and that restores our sense of humanness,” Schumann added. Remember to at least have little faith in people even if you feel mistreated.