Bitterness begins rather innocently as a response to having been hurt by a person, event, or circumstance. It often evolves from anger and builds over time. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that wakes up and says “I want to let bitterness infiltrate my life.” But when we don’t address our bitterness, that is what we are doing: letting it control our lives.
“Bitterness is a result of clinging to negative experiences. It serves you no good and closes the door to your future.”
– Leon Brown
One of the saddest things about bitterness is that it can keep us from living full, open lives. It’s easy to justify, but what we often don’t realize is as we become more and more calloused, we are actually hurting ourselves. Bitterness can lead to low self-confidence, lack of sleep, inconsistent mood shift, and the inability to have healthy relationships.
But, you can overcome it! When you feel stuck in the pit of bitterness, there are a few ways of dealing with it:
One tried and true remedy for bitterness is forgiveness. Confronting your pain and letting go of its control of you requires strength, but is possible! We’ve talked about forgiveness a lot and how it’s important in your journey of moving forward. It allows the darkness and damage that has taken hold to lift and let the light in. Forgiveness is NOT discounting what has happened or forgetting it, but it is the act of facing your pain and choosing to move forward from it. Don’t rush into it, though…forgive at your own pace.
Set Goals for Yourself
Another recent post spoke to the benefits of being intentional. This is one of those benefits! What’s great about setting goals, or being intentional, is that when you are focused on what you want to create in your life, bitterness has a hard time creeping in. Set goals for yourself to try something new every day. Whether you take up a new skill or begin meditating each morning, setting goals (no matter how small) can help bring a renewed sense of excitement and joy to life.
Bitterness is HARD to move on from, and often we don’t know where to start. One of the best places to start is by accepting help. Friends and family can be a great help in processing through those things that keep you bitter. There are also times when you need an unbiased viewpoint. In those cases, connecting with a support group, a coach, or a counselor can be incredibly beneficial.
Letting go of bitterness is not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight. But you CAN move from a hardened, bitter heart to one of joy and love again. Bitterness is normal and most people experience it to some degree but left unchecked, it will take over your mindset like weeds take over a garden. It’s a lot easier to remove those weeds before they become too firmly rooted; get intentional about your emotional health, and remove bitterness before it takes over. Let gratitude and love blossom instead!