Bitterness Is Best Sweetened

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“Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our souls, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.”    Paulo Coelho

“There is only one way of victory over the bitterness and rage that comes naturally to us–To will that God will bring peace.”    Amy Carmichael

“People grow bitter and cynical about life because they can’t bend it to their will.”    Marty Rubin

Do we wake up one day full of resentment towards others, or even the world? Perhaps the unpleasantness of everyday living  builds up and overflows. There are just those times when the anger spills over and drowns us in acidity. Our relationships may appear toxic and unhealthy. Our attitudes become affected and we offer sharper retorts to others. The thickness of an environment full of toxicity creates inner unpleasantness. It is especailly overpowering when we allow jealousy envy pride and anger to wash over reason and understanding. What appears so is not always truth.I suppose at this moment we should be thinking about removing ourselves from such an environment, immediately. The  problems are that sometimes we can’t escape our trials and tribulations and other times we can’t perceive that we have so many. Once caught in these situations we begin drowning a little each day. Many times pride keeps us from complaining and also from seeking the help we need.

Bitterness is a tough pill to swallow. The acid is like reflux and just keeps returning. How important it is for us to recognize the danger signs as well as the tools needed to necessitate changes. How many times I have witnessed other people, appear to be so consumed with cynicism, that  the first question that always comes to mind is where did it begin? None of us plan on making room for sullenness. I think at some moment we begin to notice the avoidance of other people. We might also encounter those who refrain from any kind of an argument or dispute with us. They plainly observe our unpleasant manner and they refuse to get involved with us.

Perhaps many people drown in their own sourness, while barricading themselves within a world of cynicism. I can see how it might happen. After all, we take on such heavy loads, and then are surprised when we fall down. Most of us believe we are super-human and unbreakable. Many of us learn the hard way that we are fragile like glass. Maybe it is tempered glass but we eventually break.

Young children can become angry when their needs of parental love are lacking. They go through the daily rituals but inside they are being destroyed. Parents attempt to have careers, raise children, exercise, maintain a hobby and possibly a team sport, and find social time with friends, and family, along with cultivating the spouse and kids. The list is exhausting to read never mind accomplish daily  or even weekly. older people want to work at their jobs, support their adult kids and grandchildren, take care of their elderly parents, have a hobby, spend time with friends, exercise and maintain healthy habits while entertaining friends, co-workers, spouses, and family.

Of course it isn’t easy to choose but just attempting this list will leave us exhausted. I suppose none of us believes in choices, patience, and priorities. If we find we can’t accomplish all that we want out of life, perhaps it is time to pick and choose as well as eliminate what we can. There are times in our lives when we can maintain a hobby comfortably. There are times when most of the time is going to be with immediate family and spouse. There are moments when we can support others but perhaps many more times when we require aid and have no time to reciprocate. The fields of play are not always the same.  What we did in high school, may not work when we are attempting to move upward in our jobs.

Sometimes I think it isn’t so much having unrealistic goals, as much as it is comprehending that the goals sometimes change and we must alter our objectives or drown trying to continue. Taking on what is  beyond our limits causes disappointment and stress. We feel that we have failed. Probably that is not entirely truthful. If we were asked to run against a cheetah we would laugh and decline. Yet we consider taking on ambitious tasks that don’t even give us time to think. We are on auto pilot. By the time we discover we can’t finish what we planned, we have already started our bitterness pitcher.

We observe others applying a great exercise program before or after work and we ponder why we can’t do the same. As we sadly learn, if it interferes with our child’s needs or souse’s free time we have jeopardized the marriage. Of course our spouse and kids become the reasons why we can’t exercise anymore. We blame them. We are also  possibly jealous of others who can accomplish this feat. Parents who are demanding and critical of their adult children, drain energy and humor from their kids. Eventually the demands overtake the will and capacity of the adult child. Resentment and animosity stealthily overpower the feelings of love and empathy. Teenagers require their own attention and at their own time table. This perhaps cuts into all kinds of time in all kinds of areas.

There is no period in life, which renders us free time to come and go as we please, unless we disregard all human relationships. Then of  course our time will be planned for certain events happening at given times. I decided the easiest way to alleviate bitterness was to eliminate too many distractions and the need to do list. Maybe we don’t have to spend as much time with certain things or people. Perhaps we can get back to hobbies when we are in a different time period of life. Maybe there are certain seasons of the years better suited to attempting to accomplish various goals or ambitions. Maybe we should rethink why we must accomplish some items at all. Likely there is more on our list due to the needs and wants of others rather than our own wishes to achieve such objectives. If our neighbor loves gardening, and we enjoy it but don’t love it,  then maybe simple is better for us. Exercising lightly may be a better goal than not keeping up with outrageous ones.

The idea is to temper our wishes, modify our wants, and check up on needs. Maybe some of our needs belong in the want category. If we take a look at our lives, we might find areas we are infringing on others as well as ourselves. Perhaps less can be more. Spending less but faithful time in an exercise program may benefit us in the long run and not make demands on us to the point of anger development.

Finding that our bitterness is reflected on others may surprise us. When this happens we are no longer being helpful but actually hurtful. We may not recognize our own failings. The thickness of bitterness can leave us partially deaf, blind and physically incapacitated. Just as we teach kids to refrain from eating too much candy, so must we heed our own advice. Dropping some unwanted choices and objectives will give us more time to spend on what we desire. We can be ourselves and choose what works for us. Variety is the spice of life. It appears to be a worthy objective. Our alternative is to allow  jealousy, revenge, envy pride and pain to stand in the way of love and connectedness.

Stop expecting so much from yourself and so much from others. They have the same full load as you do. Instead share the load and drop the notion of keeping up with others.  Perhaps their mariage is in greater jeopardy than your own. What appears as truth on the outside may not be the actual reality.  There will be less stress and bitterness, if you create your own desires. Search for some love in your relationships. Frustrations and pressure will tend to alleviate when the bitterness and stress slides away. All we have to do is pay more attention to what we are packing on our shoulders. It really is better to pack some patience and love. It goes a long way in alleviating toxicity. I see bitterness like the unseen germ that enters the body, takes residence and destroys. There is plenty we can do to combat it. Be aware, temper your desires, prioritize your life, appreciate more and live a happy life.

“Wisdom without Christ brings bitterness; with Christ it brings compassion.”    Criss Jami

“The bacteria of resentment bred: distance turned to distrust; distrust turned to bitterness; bitterness to hate, which is, after all, a kind of grievous love”     Johnny Rich

“We need the compassion and the courage to change the conditions that support our suffering. Those conditions are things like ignorance, bitterness, negligence, clinging, and holding on.” Sharon Salzberg

“You can’t climb up to the second floor without a ladder. When you set your aim too high and don’t fulfill it, then your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that’s reasonable, and then gradually raise it.”    Emil Zatopek

“To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”    Flannery O’Connor


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