I think it’s safe to say that no one wakes up wanting to feel bitter, resentful and angry. We want to feel great, we want to be happy, and positive, and have those great, fulfilling days.
But yet somehow, we continue to get sucked into those negative thoughts. Because those negative thoughts are extremely powerful emotions. Once you start to fall into it, it consumes you.
The power of those emotions really changes how you see things, how you act and what you believe. It’s like a dark hole that you get sucked into. Think of it this way: you wake up in the morning and something happens right away that causes you to feel angry, upset, resentful or bitter. How do you then view the rest of what happens during your day? When you already feel those negative emotions, your brain starts to connect to every other fact, situation or thing that will validate the fact that somehow you got victimized, that something was done against you. Your brain is no longer looking for the good at that point; it’s positioned to look for the negative because that’s what it’s being trained to do.
And the worst part is that once you’re in it, it’s really hard to get yourself out. It almost takes on a life of it’s own; we start operating from a place that is beyond ourselves and it really takes over if we allow it. Head over to the Change by Choice Show to listen to Episode 42 where I dive into this topic.
So - how do we get out of this bitterness and anger trap? And how can we strengthen our mindset to prevent us from falling into it time and time again?
First, let’s focus in on this: at the end of the day, if you’re the one feeling those feelings, you need to acknowledge the power of choice and the power of responsibility. We don’t always choose the situations that happen to us, but we choose how we react and we choose what we do next.
Here’s a couple ways to get yourself out that bitterness trap and how to avoid falling back there.
Slow the process down. Our first instinct when we start to feel those negative emotions is to act on them. Slow it down and just listen to what is coming up for you. Pause and reflect; why is this emotion coming up for me right now? Why am I thinking like this? Why am I behaving in this way? Find the root of it and allow yourself to sit with it before you make any decision.
Once you've had some time to think, ask yourself: Am I willing to accept the situation and allow myself to move forward? Or is there a solution that has to be made? Regardless the answer to that question...for you to just stay in that zone of anger is choosing to be caged up in a prison. And you’re the only one who’s affected by that; it’s not torturing the other person involved. You’re the one who’s living in misery and darkness by refusing to let go of those emotions. On the same token, you’re the one who has to make the change. No one is going to make it for you and no one is going to fix things for you. Think hard about how long you are willing to stay in situations and hold on to those negative emotions; because the longer you linger there, the more it layers on top of itself. Before you know it, what you started off with, which was probably small, is now this huge weight of emotion that starts to really chip away at the person you used to be.
Find gratitude, space and a positive mindset. Life is messy and shit happens. You may not like all the situations that are thrown at you, but that’s how life is. It’s how you choose to move through it that makes the difference. Strengthen your mindset to be more positive. Be mindful and grateful for the great things that have happened. Remind yourself on a daily basis that you are in control; you get to choose how long you linger in those emotions and how you choose to deal with the situations that are handed to you. It starts by being super logical with yourself. In those negative situations, ask yourself what you need to do here to solve the problem and move forward. Maybe it’s having a clear conversation with someone, maybe it’s putting yourself out there with vulnerability, or maybe it’s making a tough decision. Or maybe it’s as simple as finding gratitude for all the good in your life and choosing to simply go of the negative. At the end of the day you’re the one stuck with those feelings, so something needs to happen. But this takes practice; our brain doesn’t just automatically operate this way. We need to strengthen it and position it and tell it to do that.
The worst thing you can do is avoid. The more you avoid, the more you tell your body and your mind that you don’t want to take care of them. I get it; sometimes we do want to avoid those feelings of anger, bitterness, resentment, guilt, shame, extreme sadness. You don’t want to deal with them, so you avoid them. But the problem is that your body carries that weight and that stress with you. Maybe you keep yourself so busy that you’re distracted all day, but those feelings always creep back in moments of quiet or lying in bed at night. Because they’re still there; avoidance doesn’t solve anything. It might feel good, short term, but in the long term it’s damaging you. Are you willing to keep gambling on your health, body, mind and spirit because you don’t want to deal with it?
Think about what you’re working towards in your life: financial freedom, happiness, peace, calmness, fulfillment? Whatever you’re working towards, every single decision you make needs to line up with that result in mind. Otherwise, you’re going to miss the mark every single time, and you’ll wonder why you still live in chaos, never achieving your goals. And you’ll wonder why these negative situations and interactions keep happening to you. You’ll wonder why other people seem so happy all the time, and “damn they must be really lucky and have a great life.”
Not even close.
It’s you. You are the common thread. It’s not the situations, it’s you.
I don’t say that to make you feel bad; but for you to realize that you can and should be accountable for the words that you say and the thoughts that you have. You are in control.
You are accountable for what is going on in your life. There’s so much power there. You are in control over your choices all the time.
At what point do you realize that you're worth more than living caged by bitterness, anger and resentment? You have to believe that. Because what you allow is what will continue, and what you resist is what will persist.