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Updated By : September 22, 2014 8:38:12 PM JST

When our children were growing up (they are in college now), one of our neighbors did not invite our daughter to her children’s birthday parties. My husband insisted we invite all the neighborhood children to our parties. For years, I have harbored anger toward this woman who excluded our daughter. (Who would make a child so miserable?) Now, we are giving a neighborhood party for another couple that is moving away. Do I invite the family I have hated for 13 long years?


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Here is a map of the human brain. (Neuroscientists: Please stop reading now.) There is the pleasure center for family and friends we love, delicious food and celebrity magazines. There is the engagement area for rewarding work and our endless to-do lists. And there is the resentment zone for people who hurt our feelings and for whom we nurse eternal grudges. Now, if we can eliminate some bad juju, we can enlarge the happier real estate in our brain. Don’t argue; it’s (fake) science.


Invite your horrid neighbors, and not because they are not horrid, but so you can release some of the useless antipathy you’ve been clutching on to for years. I promise that your daughter has forgotten all about those long-ago birthday parties. Now it’s your turn. Just close your eyes and invite them. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get lucky, and they won’t come — stoking your righteous fury for another 13 years.


Once upon a time, there was a famous dancer named Gelsey Kirkland, who wrote a furious memoir called “Dancing on My Grave.” In it, she chronicled all the pills, booze, sex and abuse it took for her to become a prima ballerina — then flame out. It has been 25 years since I read it, and to this day, I wonder: Didn’t she have even one friend who told her to wait awhile, until she was a smidge less angry, to write her book? Well, I am that friend, Anonymous! Do not post a word of your divorce or your husband’s affair on Facebook. Your feelings are too raw. Trust me: In two years you will be glad you didn’t.



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