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Ep. 130 Bitter or Better

by Claudine Sweeney
May 26th 2022
Trials and challenges in life do one of two things for us. Either make us bitter or make us better. If we get stuck in the thought that life is unfair and things happen to me, you will remain... More
you're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids we have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast, Welcome back Friends, We're so glad you're here joining us today on another episode of the Rise Up and Shine podcast as you might well know, life is full of adversity and challenges and trials and these can make us or break us and they can help us become bitter or better and that's what we're talking about today is moving from bitter to better because really it's a choice, it's a choice that we have to make and today we're gonna talk about the why of bitterness, the how and practical so that we can move from bitter to better.

Do you think there's anybody out there who's never been bitter? I don't know, I spent a lot of years being better. I really did. I I know it's hard now now that I've done all the work. It's it's so funny because there's almost nothing that would make me bitter right now. Like I still have adversities and challenges and relationship problems all the normal stuff right of life, but it's interesting when you have the tools and the skills you can move from there to being better and that's we're gonna share today. Yeah. And I think I can speak from personal experience that in the past when I have had challenges with my husband, um I wouldn't think of myself as being bitter in some of our challenges and I in my past previous life, pre transformation, I'm going to say, um or awakening if you will, I always thought of there's bitter people and there's not bitter people, you know, some people, you kind of think of them as the older set in their ways.

As you get older, you get cranky old man, bitter old lady. But it's really interesting because I've had a friend before asked me when I was sharing some personal challenges with my husband and asked me, do you feel like you're bitter towards him? And my first initial response was no, because I don't, that's not like my primary emotion, I don't typically feel better. I'm just again, I don't feel myself as a better person, but really when I took an honest look and just kind of process and even over days, not just in that moment, but even over days, I thought, wow, I might have a little bit of bitterness, you know towards him in this particular situation, whatever it was, but um I think that's really fascinating and I'm glad we're doing this topic because some of us might be deceived, some of us might really feel like, no, we're not bitter, but if you take a moment to really examine yourself, your heart, your relationships, maybe there is a little bit in there because the truth of the matter is we've all been hurt, We all experienced um you know, pain in our life, especially in relationships.

And so it's really important to take a good look at this because there's no healing. If we don't recognize it, if we're if we don't allow ourselves to be aware, there's no way we can heal from it and become better. Right? I feel exactly. And, you know, bitterness, I'm not sure if it's an exact emotion or is it a state of being? I actually think it's a combination of both and bitterness can be tied to resentment, right? And can be tied to anguish and disappointment and cynicism, it's tied very clearly to those. But when we think about bitterness, we think, you know, it's unpleasant and it's the opposite of sweet, you know, sweet and bitter. And so We want to have lives that are sweet, it's not going to be sweet 100% of time, but we definitely don't want to live lives that are full of bitterness. We don't want to be those bitter old ladies. And I think what happens, we fall into this trap of when we are bitter or have some of that in our heart, we tend to blame. We tend to focus that blame on what other people did to us.

And the only thing that it really does when we blame is it keeps us stuck, it keeps us stuck and fulfilled and satisfied in life and we don't always connect those dots, right? We think we've been wronged and of course acknowledged that we have experienced very painful situations in our life, many of us traumas. Um but if we hold on to it and you know, we keep that blame towards that person or those people, it does not serve us, it does not serve us in our life. I appreciate that you're saying that because there are a lot of times a lot of situations and circumstances that we go through life where bitterness is understandable. The problem is it's not effective. It's not where we want to stay stuck, which is one of the reasons we're addressing that today. Because what can happen with bitterness is like you mentioned, we can be stuck in it. Who wants to be stuck in bitterness. I don't it can affect our relationships, especially when we're blaming or judging or resentful towards someone for something they did, it creates chaos in our hearts, right?

We don't have that peace in our hearts. When we're bitter. They don't those two don't coexist and a lot of times when we're stuck in bitterness, we're in survival mode, right? We're not thriving. We're just trying to survive. You know, the truth of it is life is hard, but like we teach all the time circumstances are neutral. So we really have to work on changing our perspectives so that we don't stay stuck in bitterness but get better. Yeah. And really when you think about it, when we blame, that's the sense of protection, right? It's a sense of protection of ourselves to keep us from hopefully being hurt again, right? And um for a time it does serve us, you know, it serves us as good protection for a while. But then eventually, and you'll feel it, you'll feel it just in your soul. Like, ah this isn't right, There's something off. I'm not feeling very good. I'm feeling, you know, not feeling very happy and just discover what could that be, What could be keeping me stuck here. Um, and helping you identify that hey, there might be some bitterness in my heart and maybe it's not serving me anymore.

You know, it's served me for a time, it was protection. But I know even for myself when I experienced that is I had to ask myself is the protection worth. You know, giving up my piece and piece of my heart peace of mind because we cannot experience true peace when we are still holding on to things, when we're still holding on to things of the past. And again, when we think about the things that we've experienced in life. Overcoming bitterness does not mean you're letting them off the hook. You know that we've talked about this many times throughout this podcast and many episodes, but it does not allow that other person off the hook, but it does give us a chance for peace and really freedom. The bitterness because bitterness is really devastating on your own well being. Not, you know, the other person probably just moved on, right, but you know, holding onto the bitterness. We really keep ourselves stuck. Yeah, Yeah. And I love this quote, I saw it. It says you either get bitter or better. It's simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person or you allow it to tear you down.

The choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to you. And the reason I love that is because it it helps point us back that we have the power, we are empowered to make choices that will make us better. I've gone through some hard things as you have as I'm sure most of our listeners have in life and the times that I reflected on, okay, what should I learn from this or and we'll share some more practical but looked and reflected and was conscious of what's going on. I came out on the other side better. You know, and it's true. We can be a slave to our bitterness or we can be free to be better. We can be victims or we can be victorious. I mean the choice is ours and sometimes we need help. And obviously as life coaches, that's the work you and I do. We help women become go from being bitter to being better to look at their circumstance, perhaps change there mindsets changed, renew their minds and transform their emotions so that they can live life to the full so that they can rise up and shine. This is what we do.

But if I hadn't had the tools or the skills to do this, I think I'd still I would be on the verge of becoming that bitter old lady. There were enough things that happened that I would be like blaming and feel a victim of fate. Like these were the cards I got dealt, look at everybody else, they got such a better hand than me. It wasn't my fault. This is the best I could do with this poor hand, right? Yeah, absolutely. So one of the practical Zwolle start off by saying is to accept that you have full control of yourself and your response is how you think about things the meaning you give to circumstances because like Claudine said, circumstances are neutral, the meaning that we attached to it, right? And I know even one thing that I've learned just in the recent year is how much that my childhood trauma has contributed to me to the lens that I you know, view situations and my perspective because I would tend to blame myself a lot to, you know, look at something's wrong with me, what's wrong with me and then really recognizing that wait, I have full responsibility and control over what I think, and especially about myself and others, right?

So that is what I have control and how I respond. Um, and then that goes into the next practical of choosing forgiveness. Forgiveness is so important. It is freeing. It is um, it is definitely one of the first steps to take to being able to overcome bitterness. And again, forgiveness does not condone what happened. It does not condone that you you're okay. You know, like you like the circumstance or whatever happened or, you know, condone what the person did. But it is helpful for you and your own health and well being to practice forgiveness. You know, it's, it reminds me forgiveness reminds me of the story of joseph in the bible. I mean, he had a lot of bad quote unquote, bad things happened to him, right? Um, so many things, his brothers, his closest relationships through him in a well and left him there, right? I mean, I would probably be bitter if someone I love my family member threw me in a well and left me there, right? Uh, and then he gets risen up and he's put in jail.

And, and so many things that he had ample opportunity to be bitter but bitter towards God, which he never did, but certainly that would have been a challenge for me. I would have probably struggled with bitterness to God and my, what I was going to add was that forgiveness is usually towards those closest to us? Right family members are spouse, God parents, you know, were bitter because somewhere there's disappointment or resentment and without forgiveness, we cannot be better. That's absolutely one of the key practical. It also leads me into our third practical, which is don't blame right? Because when we're blaming, we're not forgiving and we're not taking full control of ourselves, we think someone else has the power to make our life better or worse and we're giving them that power. So when we blame were saying, well, you're the cause of my unhappiness which people do things all the times we're going to fall short every day, We're going to hurt each other every day. But when we get stuck in the blame game, we can't be better.

We will get stuck in bitterness. Yes, here you go. It's all your fault. Yet another practical. This has really helped me is I ask myself what I can learn about myself and others through adversity. When the times are hard. If someone said or done something that's hurt me or that I can feel like it's really hurt my life in some way. I want to learn about myself. Like why is this affected me so much? Why am I feeling all these feelings? Like what are my beliefs or my thoughts about this situation? Is it's really always comes down to our thoughts. So what are my thoughts and where do those thoughts come from? What is my belief system? Why do I believe that? Where did I learn that belief from? Is it a true belief? Right. So it's a lot of exploring and awareness and consciousness and then learn about others. Sometimes when someone says something that hurts me, I think more about them, like, oh that's interesting. Like, I wonder why they would say that or do that and I haven't uh an attitude to learn instead of like blame. I'm like that's really interesting like that they would do something so mean or whatever in my thought.

Um so really come and approach it from a perspective of what can I learn from this? And the final practical that I have is practice gratitude. When we're practicing gratitude for all we do have, it's really hard to stay better and we can take for granted the things that we do have. Like, you know, even our vision and our hearing, like I have, you know, shared before. Like if I couldn't see, it would be very hard. I'm very visual, I'm not an auditory learner, I'm very visual learner. So it'd be really hard for me if I couldn't see. Um so every day, even just being grateful that I can see that I can hear that, I can smell that I can taste all those things we take for granted? Right? But when we practice gratitude just the weather, if it's a beautiful day or we heard a beautiful song things, there could be tough challenges. We could be going through many trials and adversities, but if we focus our brain and our minds on gratitude will actually change us for the better. Oh, scientifically proven. Absolutely.

Research shows, research shows, yes. And really all of these practical is go into the thought work, thought work that we talked about here all the time on the podcast. Right? So when there is a circumstance, it's a neutral. It's a fact. It's something like that can be proven in court, right? Known. But the thought will cause us to put meaning to the circumstance and our thoughts feed into how we feel and our emotions and then that feeds into our behavior. And so and bitterness, right? Is I like, I think of it as a state of mind, I think about it okay. You know, these things were done to me or this circumstance I'm really unhappy about frustrating about and then when we focus on it and vacillate over it and then it's going to cause us to feel bitter, right? It's going to cause us to feel these things and we don't feel good because that's not where we're supposed to live, we're not supposed to live in that state. Um, and then therefore it will cause us to behave or act a certain way whether avoid that person or avoid the situation or um try to avoid any kind of conflict or you know, struggle, whatever it may be, cope, you know, maybe develop negative coping styles.

So really all of this just goes back to remembering your thoughts. Your thoughts are so powerful, right on how we deal with the situation and how and choose consciously choose how do I want to feel? Do I want to be stuck? Do I want to be bitter? Do I do I like this is this helping me in my life? Is this who I want to be or where I want to be and really take an honest look. Yeah, it's really hard to rise up and shine when you're bitter, right? You can't live in a place of love or peace or joy when you're bitter and that's what and that's why we're here because we want to help women rise up in china live their best lives and live life to the full and you cannot do that in a state of bitterness or feeling resentment and bitterness. You just can't. So you know, and I think About the scripture in Romans 828 where it says all things work for the good for those who love God, that one was really helpful for me because when tough times came um I had women that reminded me that all things work for the good and sometimes in the middle of a hardship and adversity, you're like there's no way that this is anything good is going to come out of this, like it would've been a whole lot better if this had never happened.

Those are some of the thoughts I had. But when I'm on the other side of it, as I am for so many of the trials I've been through, I see so much good, that's come from it. Even if it's just me being a stronger person, even if it's just me being more compassionate and more aware, I mean, so much good has come from it that I had. I never struggled and I never faced those adversities. Um I wouldn't be the person I am today. And that scripture really comes to life for me that all things work for the good for those who love God and every adversity, every trial, it can be to our benefit, it can help us be the best version of us that we can be. Absolutely. That's the goal, right? I would think so. Alright, so if you think that you might need some help from moving from bitter to better, then please reach out to us, Claudine, she works specifically with empty nesters at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley over at mind over chaos dot com with stay at home moms. Um if you want a little bit of help, if you want a listening ear and help just to kind of discover where you might be at if you're feeling stuck.

If you don't feel as strong in your relationships. if you just want to thrive rather than survive. Head on over to our website, schedule your free discovery call and get your personalized start today. Alright, everybody, We'll catch you next week. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the Rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Yeah.

Ep. 130 Bitter or Better
Ep. 130 Bitter or Better
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