My last few posts have been about finding happiness and leaving jobs that aren’t worth your time. Because life is too short to be miserable, right?
But what happens when your anger and frustration have turned into bitterness?
Once this happens, you’ll carry it no matter where you go. It will seep into other parts of your life. You’ll become toxic to every personal and professional relationship in your life.
So how do you beat it? Keep reading. As someone who has burned more bridges than I can count and spent years working on getting myself on to a better path, I have some answers.
Toxicity is Contagious
Have you ever found yourself at your local watering hole, complaining and venting to your friends about work and life? Of course you have. We’ve all done it.
What you probably didn’t notice is that one person in your circle sat quietly without much to say. Why? It’s not that they don’t have insight. It’s more likely they don’t want to be infected by your toxicity.
Science now backs up this theory. Negativity breeds negativity.
How does that happen? When you vent and express negative thoughts, your brain sends signals to itself. The more you complain and gripe and moan, the brain sees a common denominator. So these signals happen faster, as they’re what the brain has come to expect from you.
So essentially, the more you vent, the easier your brain makes it to vent more often. It becomes a crutch. And you know what? No one wants to hear it. Seriously. They don’t.
Why? Because we, as a society, have enough crap to deal with. No one has time for yours.
You are Not a Sith Lord
If anger and resentment are grapes, bitterness is the sweet, sweet fermented product known as wine. It will intoxicate you. You’ll crave it. You’ll let go of everything near and dear to your heart, watching it all fade away in a drunken haze.
If you’ve never known loneliness, bitterness is the key component in the recipe. So the real question: Once you’ve diagnosed yourself as a bitter jerk, what’s the next step? You know you need to let go, but how?
Fix It. Now.
Not tomorrow. Or next week. Or in a few months. Right. Now.
As silly as this sounds, the first step is forgiveness. You have to forgive yourself, first, and this is by far the hardest part. You can’t forget the things you’ve done and the pain you’ve caused. What you can do is get over it and move on. Next, you’ll forgive everyone who wronged you and you’ll do it in one fell swoop.
The problem that I personally had the biggest issue with was the comfort. I was happy being unhappy. I was happy hating the world and everyone in it, including myself. I thought that hate and anger and rage made me strong and protected me from the wrongs in the world and from those who had and would eventually do me dirty.
And you know what? I was a damned fool.
But I let it all go. Not because I wanted to. Not because I felt like I had to, either. I did it because I wanted my life to be worth living. And to do that, I had to forgive myself and everyone else and all of the world’s atrocities. It wasn’t until I looked back on the situation a year later that I realized it was the motivation to make my life better that drove me to forgiveness.
I’m not a Christian, but I was raised as one. I never truly understood how powerful forgiveness is. Not until I forgave myself.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Give it a shot.
It’s time you take control of your life, let go of the bitterness, explore the joys of forgiveness, and move on to bigger and better things.