It can be easy, even inviting, to trade the light for the dark, the positive for the negative, even the sweet for the bitter.
Sometimes it just seems easier to let life kick you when you’re down than fight back against it. Do that for too long, however, and you might start to become a bitter person.
Bitter people are always down about something, have a lot of drama and excuses in their lives, and can never seem to see the positive in anything.
One saying that is especially true of genuinely bitter people is that it’s as if they drink the poison and then wait for the other person to die.
Does this sound like you?
Read on to discover the tried-and-true habits of bitter people…and learn how not to become one.
1) They’re constantly jealous and envious.
BItter people aren’t happy with their lives as they are, so they constantly look to others’ lives -or, actually, their perceptions of what others’ lives are like- to incite jealousy and envy. They cannot simply be happy with what they have.
One solution to this is simply to want what you already have, instead of comparing to what others have. If your life is full of wonderful people, kindness, vibrancy, cosy things or whatever it if that makes you happiest, that’s great!! If you can recognize the important of that mindset, even better. I find I am always happiest when I want what I already have.
2) Bitter people use drama to get attention and sympathy.
If there isn’t a crisis -or several- going on in a bitter person’s world, just wait. There will be, and in short order. Bitter people often find themselves bored and lonely because many people don’t want to deal with them. They create crisis and perpetuate drama to get sympathy from their “friends” for a little while, and then they are left to deal with the situation, ultimately, on their own.
Creating drama and chaos is a terrible way to bring friends together around you. Try doing something good for all of you instead, like going bowling or for a hike or just having a casual get-together at a local bar or restaurant, or even your house. When happiness brings people together, it increases exponentially. If your bitter person is there trying to cast a wet blanket about, give them their time, possibly try to present a resolution to their issues if possible, and change topics. You may end up explaining why you’re doing this to them, but that’s okay. They need to be informed that the world doesn’t revolve around them and their crises.
If you’ve read this far, you can probably guess that people who are better tend to have negative attitudes, negative outlooks and just, well, focus on the negatives in life. You can help the bitter person in your life -as well as ensure that you don’t trend towards bitterness yourself- by helping to flip the switch on whatever it is they are ruminating about. Car is broken? Opportunity to look for a new one! Rent is overdue? Great opportunity to have some face time with your landlord. Pet died? (This is seriously sometimes the worst.) Console and help with grieving, but maybe head to an animal shelter in a few weeks to check out all of the little floofs and fluffs that need a good home.
Humor is a great remedy to an eternally bitter person, also. Point out what they’re doing and contrast it starkly with the beauty of nature, the creature comforts they have, their new dog, their fabulous life. Get ‘em laughing about the absurdity of their outlook. Get them -and you!- in the mode of thinking positively and your bitter friend might just become a sweetheart.
4) Bitter people always expect the worst, which works really well for them because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You can try to do something a few times and fail and fail a few more times and start to feel like you’ll never succeed. Help your bitter friend to STOP RIGHT THERE! Every day is a new day, every try is nothing like the last try. Consider past patterns, changes you want to make in order to succeed, and before you know it you’ll be flying through successes. “Fail forward” is something I hear a lot pertaining to this at my office and it’s helpful: learn what you can, make better decisions next time and then, even if you do fail again, you’ll be failing forward towards success instead of backwards towards bitterness and hopelessness.
5) Bitter people hold grudges.
Oh yes they do. The way I think of a grudge is drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Grudges are carried by those who harbor them, NOT by those who they are targeted towards, so as the grudges pile on, YOU become more entrapped and enslaved by them…and the people you’re angry at? They’re just going about the world, living their lives. Not behaving like that poison is going to kill them, no matter how much you’re expecting it to.
Help out the bitter grudge-holding, poison-drinking, resentment-festering people in your life by encouraging them to just let it go.
It was forever ago, it’s not worth it, you don’t have to be trapped by your anger at this person, you can make the choice to put down that Santa-sized sack of grudges anytime you want and just walk away from them. Keep encouraging them and praise them for how well they are progressing, even if it’s incremental. We’ve all gotta start somewhere.