Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
-Rev. Martin Luther King, JR
Bitter or better.
These are the two most common outcomes at the end of a long, tough day [or week, or month, or year].
I’m not going to sugar coat it or get all cheerleader on you today.
Some days stink. As in STINK.
I get it.
And tomorrow… when you wake up… you will still be granted the gift of freedom in choosing how you allow events to shape you.
I find these three questions to be extraordinarily helpful in the making and molding of me.
1. Will yesterday make me bitter today, or will it make me better?
Bitterness starts out as hurt and expands into anger and resentment. When you hold tight to your anger you become the victim and perpetrator all in one. It doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to experience the whole spectrum of human emotions. It simply asks you which emotions you’ll let set up residence inside you. Taking a few minutes to discern what you can learn from life’s events will ground you and help you consciously choose how events will affect your level of play long term.
2. What’s the cost of keeping my bitterness?
When you’re focused on past trespasses and transgressions you’ll be robbed of energy and peace in the moment. Bitterness often erodes your light and your relationships. Bitterness is a burglar… one of the biggest stealers of time. Time that could have been used for restoring and refueling, for healing and resetting.
Sometimes we hang onto bitterness because it serves a competing commitment. It lets us rally in our righteousness or be blinded to our own bias. Bitterness can provide us a sense of safety and comfort that ironically prevents us from getting what we want most.
3. How might I flourish, how might my life expand, how might I know peace and contentment again, if I dropped the heavy burden of my bitterness and stepped in the direction of better?
When you’ve been slighted, when life or someone has been cruel, you need to grieve. You need to process your real and understandable pain. Do not rush your real pain. Give yourself some grace.
Only as you process through your pain and begin to gently move forward, may you realize you’ve become a bit bitter. If you have, the best way to release any venom swirling inside you is through forgiveness, letting go and breaking the bad habit of berating the gods, yourself or the one who trespassed against you. Only when you consciously choose to not be bitter can you switch your focus from past problems & pains to tomorrow’s solutions and unexpected moments of joy. You, without the burden of bitterness, is a better you.
To setting down the backbreaking weight of bitterness and embracing better.