I’m sure you have noticed that the only difference between the words “better” and “bitter” is one letter – the letter “I”. Yet, it is a very important letter because “I” am the only one who can determine whether I will allow what happens to me to make me a better person or a bitter person. If I am willing to accept the situations and things that happen in life as learning opportunities to help me grow to be wiser and more informed, then I am going to profit from every experience that I go through in life. However, if I develop a negative and critical spirit because I think I got the “short end of the stick”, or was wronged, or that someone treated me unfairly, then I will end up being a bitter person. That is a high price to pay for any situation.
Life is too short to be bitter! It is believed that bitterness can make you physically sick. It has an adverse effect on your health, as well as your attitude and outlook on life. In fact, scientists are working diligently to find a cure for cancer. And, while they have not yet found that cure, they do know that cancer cells are bitter, rebellious cells inside the human body that grow to cause harm and many times death, to an individual.
What if you and I knew that staying bitter over a situation would actually “trigger” cancer cells to be released into our system? Would that cause us to be more careful about allowing bitterness to creep into our heart and life? I believe it would! There is just no room for bitterness in life. Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the person with whom you are upset to die. It makes no sense. However, I have observed that many people choose to remain bitter and upset over a situation that happened to them many years ago.
In order to be clear, I am not saying that any person who has ever had cancer was bitter or rebellious. I just do not want us to let bitterness or rebellion remain in our hearts. It is too dangerous and toxic to risk the damage that it can possibly cause to your health.
If there is one thing that I have learned in my life, it is the fact that life is not fair. No one ever said that it would be fair. There are situations that all of us face at one time or another that really put us in a bad place. However, we are the ones who can choose whether or not we want to stay in that bad place, or if we want to let the experience make us a better person.
You cannot learn something in a vacuum. You have to be in the middle of an experience to really learn what life is trying to teach you. The old saying really is true: “It did not happen to you; it happened for you!” If you look at any situation as though it happened to you, it will make you bitter. But, if you look at a situation as though it happened for you, then it will make you better. This is not an easy pill to swallow. No one gets excited about something hard or difficult coming into his or her life.
The good news is that we do not have to look for these events to come. If you are living and breathing, then these situations will find you. It is just the nature of life. Yet, you are the one who decides how you are going to respond to a situation. You can resent situations; you can regret situations; or you can “re-frame” any situation and turn something that normally would make you bitter into something that ultimately makes you better. It is all a matter of perspective. It is all a matter of the way you choose to see the situations and circumstances of life.
This week, take a look at what is “eating at you” and make sure it eats at you no longer. That phrase, “eating at you” is an accurate portrayal of what bitterness does. Rather than letting things eat you, choose to learn from them. Be grateful and accept the situations that come into your life as teaching tools to make you all you were meant to be. After all, I believe that is why they were sent your way in the first place!
Remember, the difference between being a better person or a bitter person all boils down to the letter “I”. It is just one little letter in the alphabet, yet it makes all the difference in the world. I choose to be a better person for the things that life brings my way and I trust that you will make that same choice as well.
Tip: Be better, not bitter!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm