Don’t Be Bitter, Be Better.
The late Dr. Stephen Covey, author of the 1990s’ bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, made a profound observation:
“The children of blame are cynicism and hopelessness. When we succumb to believing that we are victims of our circumstances and yield to the plight of fatalism, we lose hope, we lose drive, and we settle into resignation and stagnation.”
The link between blame and hopelessness isn’t always immediately obvious, but if we think about it for a bit, it becomes apparent that the former often leads to the latter.
In South America, there is a strange, deadly, and aptly-named vine called the ‘Matador’.(‘Matador’, in Spanish, literally means ‘killer’.) The vine begins its life harmlessly enough at the foot of a tree, but as it grows, it wraps itself around the tree, actually strangling it as it winds its way up. And when it finally reaches the top of the tree, it brings forth a flower, almost as though it were celebrating its kill and crowning itself victor.
The Matador vine is a sobering metaphor for the debilitating effects of blame and bitterness. It might feel good at first to blame others for our woes, but the longer we hold on to our anger and hurt, the more we will feel our hope, optimism and positiveness ebbing away.
If you are feeling particularly bleak and upset, it might be a good idea to ask yourself if you are perhaps harbouring bitterness in some part of your life, and then make a conscious choice to let go of it. As someone wisely said once, “Holding on to bitterness makes as much sense as drinking rat poison and expecting the rat to die!”
It is normal and natural to feel upset and angry when we have been hurt, but we don’t need to stay that way. As human beings, we always have the freedom to choose how we will respond to what life sends our way. Don’t be bitter, be better.
Have a great week