Whether it stems from envy, hurt or whatever, bitterness is a terrible feeling. It seeps into the deepest crypts of the subconscious and taints a soul from the inside out. What makes it much, much worse than other negative emotions is its astounding ability to blur reality before the very eyes of a person such that his/her “reality” is distorted, thrusting him/her into a faux reality where his feelings and actions are supposedly justifiable, and his victim(s) seem to bear the brunt of it — a deadly illusion.
Ironically, more times than often, the supposed victim doesn’t even get a whiff of these things. Sanity slips out of control by the day, until all that is left is a hollow person, plagued by insanity — insanity, due to misperception. Also, like most other parasitic emotions, it is exhausting. You can only keep up for so long before you run out of juice.
“Bitterness can be likened to drinking posion and expecting the other person to suffer its effects.”
In the end, the bitter fellow is the true victim.
My opinion on how to deal with bitterness — especially from hurt? Well, the classic “dialogue and closure” approach may have its perks, but it’s quite radical, in my opinion. You could save yourself the trouble of an embarrassing or even traumatizing tête à tête with the other party by embracing the following approaches.
A strong personal defence mechanism, for starters. The first crucial step to dealing with bitterness, even before it comes, is to make reservations for people’s inadequacies. How? You’ve probably heard the “nobody is perfect” cliché more times than you can remember. Well, it is a reality. No one is. One is to let that sink in as deep as it can. Anyone can mess up anytime. That way, when a person supposedly messes up, you won’t be disappointed much, at the very least. It’s a defence mechanism worth exploring, worth embracing. That way, the offence is stopped dead in its tracks before it creeps into the mind to do its dirty work. It will come for sure. The question is if you’d allow it to stay. Will it just glide over your head, or nest there? Perhaps an unusual approach to a lot of people, but it’s worth a try. Your inner peace and sanity are worth more than some people’s misconceived actions.
However, like most, if not every other defence mechanism, it’s most likely not going to be 100% foolproof, no matter how hard you try. There is always going to be that one action, that one “jerk” that pokes you right at the chink in the armour. We’ll all have our moments. “Gbogbo wa la ma jẹ breakfast.”
What to do then? When the feeling starts to “choke”? Consult? Well… Yeah.
Now, this is where it gets tricky. Consultation is supposed to be a last-resort thing if you can’t handle things yourself because people can be… “people.” Only a few are genuinely interested in helping people in their weakest moments. A great deal does not care at all. Some are only interested in listening to your “life story” just for thrills. Some others, to exacerbate things — blow things out of proportion, like gasoline to smouldering coals. At the end of the day, the fellow ends up even more bitter than he/she was, in the beginning, firing on all cylinders, full-throttle downhill, headed straight for the rocks, or perhaps burning out faster than usual. Discernment is important. Only those, who have proven to be dependable over time, should be consulted for help. It can be your parents, siblings, good friends, religious leaders, therapists and the likes. Even prayer works wonders. There is a great deal of power made available for the believer to combat negative emotions in the place of prayer. A great deal.
On the other hand, you might choose to say nothing to people. All that you probably need to do is to recharge your batteries. Rewind with friends. Be actively involved in something you love to do. Go for a picnic. Take a walk in the cool of the day. Whatever makes you feel better — actively make efforts to make yourself happy. Emotion is the very fabric of the soul. When happiness consistently takes up space, bitterness will have a hard time creeping in.
Thé point is, when dealing with bitterness, the other party doesn’t always have to get to know about the feelings you’ve been harbouring. You can always deal with issues before they degenerate into scenarios in which you have to embrace confrontational approaches with the other party for closure. Keeping your mind free of parasitic, negative emotions is an obligation that cannot be overemphasised. It’s something we must be conscious of as often as we can. Your inner peace is invaluable. Your sanity is priceless. You deserve to be happy. You owe yourself that much!