Lifelong friendships do give us a reason to stick around, they bring calm to the soul, laughter and a million reasons to make life worthwhile.
A saying “Your best friend can also turn into your worst enemy.”
It’s the years of shared secrets, trust, honesty, almost a second skin to your existence, they do know when to hold on and when to let go. They have your back when the world is against you. It’s the silver lining of friendship; A relationship.
Unfortunately, sometimes these relationships do sour, yes that very same person who you once shared your life with, you grew up with, is now your enemy.
Human beings do change, they can evolve, stagnate or regress, different visions or circumstances make humans grow into different people, and if the spirit of ‘agree to disagree’ ‘live and let live’ does not hold good, it often leaves a crack in a relationship, and with time the crack can be filled or grow deeper and reach a point of no return.
Reaching the stage of no return is not an overnight decision; it usually comes after years of constant whiplash, years of forgiving and reconciling and the slightest trigger can set the relationship back to square one, giving strength to the root of bitterness which is like any other root. The primary function of a root is to act as an anchor. It digs deep and develops phenomenal strength and tenacity – think of the enormous trees and what strength and power their roots must have to keep them stable and secure. The root of bitterness has the same purpose and takes a lot of spiritual maturity to heal.
The bitter pill is indeed bitter to swallow, let alone digest.
What is bitterness?
It’s a feeling of antagonism, hostility or resentfulness caused by repeated
incidents of regret, embarrassment, shame and guilt that spurs your thoughts, your behavior and your being into pessimism and negativity.
The stress of living with all of this creates an outlook of a bitter world. The bitter person begins to believe and view everything as unworthy and might spew their inner hurt and anger by saying and doing things that hurt the feelings of others, exhibiting ruthless verbal and emotional cruelty. The latest research to give credence to the link between state of mind and health is a recent study from Concordia University that has found constant bitterness can make a person ill. Holding on to bitterness can affect metabolism, immune response or organ function and lead to physical disease. As the most common way of dealing with hurt is to ignore it, the result of either refusing to resolve hurt or anger in any way brings on bitterness.
You can’t ignore it, you have to deal with it. Because bitterness is a deep and continual feeling, it takes time to find a way to defeat it, besides; there is no instant cure.
Bitterness is hard to overcome.. but possible.
Identify the problem: Bitterness often begins with hurt, repeated hurt inflicted by the same person or many different people breed constant hurt turning into bitterness. Call out the problem(s) maybe even talk to someone you trust. Verbalize all the hurt and pain you are feeling without feeling apologetic. Let it out loud, do not withdraw or isolate yourself. Once you’ve had the chance to vent, you are ready to appeal to your rational side.
Reevaluate yourself and the situation: Recognize the impact of this bitterness on your life and whether it is worth your attention to reconcile or let go completely. Relive and Reflect
Ask yourself: What do you want this pain to turn into?
What is causing you to hold on to your anger and resentment?
Empathize with the person who hurt you.
Remember that forgiveness is not the service of condoning. It’s a service to yourself—free yourself from the poison of hatred.
Take responsibility for your part: Once you have decided to either reconcile or let go, evaluate your part for the way forward, remember, you can only control your part.
If letting go is your decision, let go with a forgiving heart,
If reconciling is your decision, prepare for the conversation, it has to be prepared for!
Prepare to listen to the person and prepare to open up completely to the person. Sometimes it may take a couple of meetings to discuss everything. This is the most difficult step, but the most freeing step of all. It will put your life back into perspective.
The path to Forgiveness: ‘Forgive seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:22). This isn’t about math, it’s about developing a forgiving heart. It can take a long journey of continual forgiveness to end bitterness and strife.
“To understand forgiveness, you must first understand what forgiveness is not, it isn’t about turning your cheek to someone or running away from the problem. It’s not about condoning what the person has done or that you won’t defend yourself ” psychiatrist Dr. Ned Hallowell.
Forgiveness is setting your mind free from every toxic mindset, reset your mind to thinking life-giving, peaceful thoughts that empower you to live a full free life. This can happen only when you meditate on positive words, speak them over your life, till your mind becomes more and more full of whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, and everything excellent or praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
Praying and mediating does help hugely.
Living a renewed life void of bitterness:
‘Renounce’ because your resentful feelings may never permanently go away.
‘Acknowledge’ that your anger can come back, if your anger does comes back, go through the process again and keep moving forward.
‘Empathy’ is always a better way to forgive.
‘Vengefulness’ only holds you back from being a joyful person.
‘Apologize’ if you are the person you need to forgive the most or if you have part of the responsibility, own up to it and ask forgiveness from the other person. There is power in the word ‘sorry’
‘Anger’ is most certainly a dangerous emotion, be aware of it and break free from its grasp.
‘Resentment’ Of course, if someone took advantage of you, be sure to avoid putting yourself in the same situation again.
Bitterness has the power to destroy us from within and can negatively impact those around us in many ways. Sometimes hurts come through failed relationships with others or setting the bar too high in our lives. Allowing God to be the judge and deal with a situation in His time frame can be one of the greatest ways to overcome bitterness. When you get those contaminants out, you’ll not only feel the weight off you but you’ll get your joy back. You’ll start dreaming again and you’ll see the new things in store.
I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want my life to be,
Void of Bitterness.