This post is dedicated to anyone going through some form of bitterness.
It doesn’t provide an entire solution to the problem because the degrees and causes of bitterness vary from one individual to another.
However, I hope this article makes a difference and gives someone the hope and encouragement required at this time.
The Daily Mail published an article stating ‘Harbouring Bitterness Increases The Likelihood Of Physical Disease.’
Professor Wrosch (Montreal’s Concordia University Department of Psychology) suggests ‘persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that when strong enough, could affect a person’s physical health.’
He’s also investigated how negative emotions, such as regret or sadness, affect people and singles out how failure is one of the most frequent causes of bitterness.
He believes bitterness harboured over a long period could forecast patterns of biological dysregulation (a physiological impairment that can affect metabolism, immune response or organ function) and physical disease.
Finally, he suggests bitterness can be avoided if people who experience failure:
- Find other ways to fulfil their goals
- Disengage from fruitless efforts.
- Re-engage in something that’s equally meaningful (e.g. a new job or passion).
- Involve others.
- Engage in Forgiveness. [Embitterment: Societal, psychological, and clinical perspectives (Springer 2011)].
Michael Linden (Head Of The Psychiatric Clinic at Free University of Berlin 2003) argues that bitterness is actually a medical disorder and should be categorised as post-traumatic embitterment disorder (PTED).
He estimates that between one and two per cent of the population is embittered and by giving the condition a proper name, people with PTED will receive the therapeutic attention they deserve.
While I’m a bit cautious about the conclusions made from the research, this post will attempt to suggest a few ways of dealing with bitterness.
The Free Online Dictionary defines bitterness as a feeling of deep anger, ill-will, hostility and intense resentment.
It is a non-productive emotion that can destroy relationships and keep one from focusing on their own well-being
Have I had my fair share of bitterness?
YES!!! and there are still occasions it still creeps up in my head/heart/mind.
There are times when I’ve been:
- Dumped in a relationship.
- Classed as a complete failure.
- Bullied at a young age and came in contact with the bully later in life requiring my assistance.
- Stereotyped because of sex, skin colour and faith.
- Swindled by people I trusted.
- Fallen into traps set out by people with intent to hurt me emotionally.
- Experienced losses.
The list is endless…….
During these moments of bitterness, the following tends to occur:
- An intense feeling of shock to my system.
- My ego feels bruised and wounded.
- I suddenly get into a defensive mode in order to shield my hurt.
- I gradually succumb to the feelings of anger because the more I think about the wrongs or those who have hurt me, the deeper I fall into the realms of resentment and despair.
Maya Angelou states ‘Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host.
Once again the aim of this post is to suggest simple ways of dealing with bitterness.
In no particular order they are as follows:
Don’t Suppress Or Deny Your Feelings
Identify and admit the feelings of bitterness. It’s important to recognize how you feel about the issues that trigger those feelings and pursue some form of clarity because your ultimate aim/goal is to experience peace and happiness within.
You may also need to find a way of expressing your frustrations constructively because it provides a bit of relief when overwhelmed with bitterness.
Be Around People
When faced with bitterness, it’s important to be around people you are accountable to, who won’t withhold any form of encouragement from you or keep you at arms length as you share/express your frustrations.
Focus on your options
Focus on the reality of the situations responsible for your bitterness. Think deeply about the possible ways of resolving those hurtful feelings and channel your efforts constructively with a view of doing things that would give you a fair amount of joy and happiness.
The more options you have for dealing with negative thoughts/situations, the better you are at managing your frustrations and bitterness.
Don’t Stress Over Things You Can’t Control
You must not lose sight of this please. There are certain events you can’t change, so it’s important to avoid stressing over things you can’t control because it only fuels bitterness and leads to constant worry and anxiety.
Remember, you are in control of your thoughts/actions and you may not be as helpless as you perceive to be.
Be realistic with your own affairs and people that govern your life. Try as much as possible to keep your emotions in check
Engage In The Act Of Gratitude
There are so many things to be grateful for. Learn to count your blessings and express gratitude for the good things of life as well as people that have come your way.
Engage In Confrontation Cautiously
You should confront the issue of bitterness by communicating your feelings to the parties responsible cautiously, not in an accusatory manner or ways which could generate intense conflict thereby creating more unrest within.
Spend Some Time Alone
Take time out to reflect on the issues causing bitterness because it may provide you with a clearer and rational perspective. Some time alone could also prevent unnecessary emotional outbursts which could bring regret in the future.
Work On Your Attitude
Having a positive attitude enhances optimism which helps you manage worries, conditions your thoughts and helps you deal with the issue of bitterness.
The benefits are as follows:
- It creates a some form of inspiration and motivation.
- It equips you with the ability to overcome various difficulties.
- It helps in dealing with and managing your bruised ego.
- It allows you communicate your feelings effectively.
Feel good about yourself
Always feel good about who you are (constructively), where you are now and display confidence about what to look forward to in the future.
It’s important to avoid excessive self criticism because it triggers negative feelings which only result in bitterness.
Rise up to the challenge
The negative events of the past often create tough challenges for the present because there’s a desire to wish the past away, live in regret, blame others for our circumstances…………
In order to rise above the level of being constantly tormented by bitterness, you need to live up to the challenge of staying strong through the difficult periods.
You can’t change past events/incidences, but you can definitely shape your future by dealing with the current challenges of life constructively.
Seek to be at peace internally because it puts you in the right frame of mind.
Forgiveness is essential but it doesn’t mean tolerating wrong doings or immediately reconciling with those who hurt you. It’s very important because it creates peace within.
There’s nothing else to write on this subject but ‘JUST RELAX!!’. Sleep, go for a walk in the park, listen to music……..
Live Your Life.
LIVE YOUR LIFE and LIVE IT WELL!!! Make good use of the opportunities that come your way. Spend time with your friends, family, children…. If you can, live life to its fullest(constructively) rather than focusing so much on your bitterness.
Face Your Fears
Face your fears by starting all over again, taking risks, building positive relationships, sharing the hurt experienced with friends, family…..
Let your thoughts of the future be inspiring, memorable, motivating, inspiring and encouraging.
Seek Professional Help
Employing the services of a counsellor, coach, psychotherapist etc. could be effective in dealing with the feelings of bitterness.
If you feel the need for professional advice, do not hesitate to call or visit your local GP, a professional counsellor or psychotherapist.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
This article focuses on a few ways to deal with bitterness but:
In the wake of the london and england riots,
There are absolutely no immediate words of comfort, counselling, theories, answers… I can provide that would wipe out the feelings of hurt, anger and bitterness people feel towards different sections of the society at large.
However I salute the courage of:
People remaining steadfast as they rebuild their homes & businesses
The community for coming out to clear the streets in ‘riot clean up’
The father who has lost his sons but is still speaking out against the violence
The emergency services(police, the ambulance service, fire service……..)
and many more……..
I pray for the families who have lost their loved ones, families who have been displaced from their houses, people who have lost all hope, people who tend to be misguided…….
Finally I hope and pray peace is completely restored to the entire cities/places involved.