Bitter people are often negative and unable to enjoy life. They may even mistreat others as a way of getting back at those they feel wronged by.
It takes work to move on from bitterness, but there are a few things that can help you get there. For example, spending time with positive people and seeking professional help.
1. Let go of grudges
If you are bitter, it is likely because of some past injustice or pain. It may be difficult to face these negative feelings, but it’s essential that you do so. Bitterness drains your energy, and it can prevent you from moving forward in life.
Forgiving others is the best way to let go of grudges. It’s important to remember that resentment is a second-hand emotion, so the person toward whom you are bitter is probably not feeling any resentment. They may even be ignoring your feelings.
To help yourself let go of the bitterness, make a list of the people you are holding grudges against and why. Try to stay as objective as possible, focusing on the facts of the situation rather than your emotions. Then, pray for forgiveness and ask God to restore your relationship with them. It’s also worth considering whether you need to reframe the situation entirely. For example, perhaps the person who hurt you was actually unfair to you, not the other way around.
Many people struggle with feelings of bitterness, whether a childhood bully, a toxic colleague or a family member who abused them. Bitterness can have a negative impact on your mental and emotional health, making it difficult to enjoy all that life has to offer.
Forgiveness heals bitterness by allowing you to release your resentment and move on from the past. This process may involve talking about the situation with a trusted person, or processing it in other ways, such as writing, exercising, or drawing.
Forgiveness is a choice that requires your active participation, and it may take time to feel the benefits of this choice. Once you choose to forgive, you may need to remind yourself of your decision on a regular basis. Forgiveness isn’t about forgetting the offense, but focusing on the grace God has given you to forgive those who hurt you. Remember that God’s plan of redemption includes everyone, and His forgiveness is available to you.
3. Stop talking about the past
Rehashing a person’s negative actions in your mind is toxic. The American Psychiatric Association even classifies embitterment as a psychological disease that requires treatment. Recalling what the other person did and how they harmed you only serves to reinforce the resentment you have toward them. Instead of seeing them as villainous, try viewing them anew—as insensitive to your feelings and welfare. This shift in attitude will soften the resentment and help you let it go.
Bitterness is like ivy that grows around your heart and sabotages your joy. Removing the roots of bitterness can take time, but the process is worth it when you experience the peace that comes with forgiveness. In the meantime, spend quality time with friends and family. Embark on new experiences, such as exploring a hobby or re-establishing old friendships. It’s also helpful to re-frame your outlook by practicing gratitude. Practicing mindfulness will help you stay present and appreciate the things that are going well in your life.
4. Seek professional help
Bitter people often suffer from deep wounds that can’t be healed without professional help. If left unchecked, bitterness can poison relationships, close off new opportunities, rob you of energy, ruin your health and, in the worst cases, lead to vengeance.
A therapist can help you to identify long-term patterns of bitterness, helping you to overcome them and find healing. He or she will also help you to understand that the person you blame for hurting you isn’t really a villain but someone with their own problems.
You may find that your bitterness is a mask for feelings of inadequacy or a way to hide from a fear of change or failure. You might think that repressing or ignoring these emotions will make them disappear, but this is rarely the case. Instead, bitterness re-emerges and grows over time as you continue to dwell on the past.