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Tainted love: How not to be bitter

Here’s how it happens. You want something—or someone—and you go for it. Then something unwanted happens—failure, disappointment, a setback, or maybe a breakup—and you blame someone else for it. Like your ex. Or your parents. Or you just blame life because it temporarily sucks.

First comes anger. Then anger turns to bitter.

What is bitter? It’s feelings, emotions, and how you act towards others. Most often it’s saying mean things that hurt people, feeling hatred, or feeling sorry for yourself. It can also be picking fights just to be antagonistic or being vindictive and spiteful. It typically involves a ton of resentment and feeling like life isn’t fair. And bitterness can taint everything.

Fortunately, it usually fades with time and perspective. But if it’s too strong or lingers for too long, bitterness can keep you from moving forward and healing. And that can make it very hard for you to have fulfilling, healthy relationships, friendships, and experiences. And without those things, life kinda sucks. So, how do you move beyond bitter?

  • Admit that you feel bitter. You’ve got to know it’s there—and face it—in order to leave it behind.

  • Acknowledge who hurt you and that you hold on to the hurt. Ask yourself why you won’t let it go. What does the hurt do for you? Does it make you feel connected to someone you don’t want to let go of? Is it safer than being vulnerable and risking getting hurt again? Explore what being bitter gives you.

  • Let go. Easy to suggest and hard to do, but you’ve got to try and let go of resentment, anger, and whatever else preoccupies your thoughts and keeps the pain close. Yes, they’re natural feelings and okay in small doses, but we’re addressing times when that’s all you feel. For months. Or years. Here are 40 helpful tips on letting go and feeling less pain.

  • Forgive. Another one that’s hard to do… After you let go of overwhelming negative feelings, it can also be helpful to forgive the person you begrudge. They may not deserve it and you may not know how to do it, but that’s okay. Take your time. Just working on forgiveness can lower stress and anxiety, strengthen your immune system, increase your self-esteem, lower blood pressure, and improve your other relationships. Forgiving them benefits you, so do this for yourself.

  • Change your expectations. Bitterness robs you of hope and excitement for the future. Try to believe that you will experience something good again and that you do have the power to make positive things happen.

  • Know that you are bigger than bitterness. If you find yourself drowning in self-hatred or self-blame, or thinking you don’t deserve happiness, let’s make one thing clear: You deserve the absolute best in life. Without a doubt. You are not destined to be bitter. You have the ability to rise above this. Work on it. Be patient. Be kind to yourself. And watch it work itself out.

  • Get help if you need it. None of this is easy and you may need extra support. Talking to an understanding professional can help you see what’s rational and what isn’t as you work on releasing bitterness.

Want to know more about bitterness and love? Psychology Today has an in-depth article on it. (Want to know which is the best birth control if you never even want to think about it? Bedsider has that info.)

We prefer our bitterness in dark chocolate,
Bedsider

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