Saturday, January 23, 2010

bitter betty

I received this in an email from DailyOM ( and sometimes these emails are spot-on. I'm posting it here so that I can refer back to it when I'm feeling bitter, wronged, and like it's just. not. fair. I have these petty, not-pretty moments which fly in the face of my tryyyyyyying to remain in a grateful place, to be here now, exactly where I need to be.

Lifting Pain's Veil

It is natural to feel resentment or anger when life does not unfold as expected. We consciously or unconsciously anticipated one experience, and we grieve for the loss of it when the universe puts something else in our path. Most of the time, we work through these feelings and they pass. Occasionally, our anger and resentment do not fade and are instead transformed into bitterness. Bitter feelings allow us to become perfect victims in that we no longer feel obliged to work toward healing and choose instead to identify with our pain. Yet as unwholesome as bitterness can be, it is also a natural element of our emotional palette. When we acknowledge that it is okay to feel bitter, we reconnect with our hurt in a constructive way and can begin the process of working through it.

The nature of bitterness is rooted in the fact that the pain we feel provides us with a rationale. We may feel that we deserve to embrace our bitterness to its full extent. And to be bitter is, in essence, to cut ourselves off from all that is positive, hardening our hearts and vowing never to let go of our hurt. But just as bitter feelings can be self-defeating, so too can the release of bitterness be life-affirming in a way that few other emotional experiences are. When we decide that we no longer want to be bitter, we are reborn into a world filled with delight and fulfillment unlike any we knew while in the clutches of bitterness. The veil it cast over our lives is lifted, letting light and warmth touch our souls.

Divesting yourself of bitter feelings can be as simple as truly forgiving and moving on. Even when your bitterness has no concrete object, you can forgive situations too. Healing pain can be challenging but may be easier if you remind yourself that you are the only entity truly affected by your emotional state. In time, you will discover that letting go of your bitterness frees you to initiate the healing process and allows you to once again celebrate the possibility of the more wonderful life you deserve.


  1. I have been delighted browsing through your thoughts and posts. I am so with you in your constant attempt to grateful and be present. (and to commit to blogging!)Thank you for being willing to "show up" in such a real and honest way. I am here to celebrate and support you

  2. I was scrolling through your archives earlier today and came upon this post. It really resonated with me and it came to mind this evening when I was having a conversation with my husband about my family. That tells me I need to pay attention. Thanks for posting this.

  3. Sharon - I receive these DailyOM emails and sometimes they come at exactly the right time. This one really hit home for me b/c of utter hatred I feel for a certain person who caused a nearly unbearable amount of pain to my family and to me about 8 years ago. I have certainly NOT forgiven him but through some pretty intense therapy sessions this year, I am (at least for now) in a better place where I am not allowing him to have such power over me emotionally. I have no contact with him, and haven't for years, but I seemed unable to get to a place where I could let go of some of the pain. I don't know that I will ever forgive him. For me, at this time, forgiveness = condoning what he did. I know, in my mind, that one does not equal the other but I'm not yet at the place where I can make the distinction.