How To Stop Being Bitter: 10 Steps To Overcoming Bitterness

Being bitter is something that is often associated with older people.

It’s not a word you’d often use to talk about someone in the 20s, 30s, or 40s!

Yet, bitterness is a very valid emotion that many of us struggle with at various points in our lives.

This feeling stems from resentment and regret, among other emotions, and it’s important to reiterate that what you’re experiencing is valid.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aiming to minimize it.

Want to stop being bitter?

Here are our top 10 tips when it comes to moving on from bitterness and looking toward a more positive future.

1. Take a step back.

It’s very easy to get caught up in our emotions. Many of us simply forget to give ourselves some breathing space.

By removing ourselves from the situation that’s causing the emotion, we can gain new perspectives.

Bitterness can often lead to feeling very overwhelmed, which can make everything more confusing and feel much worse than it really is.

Take some time to detach yourself from these experiences before you continue with the rest of the points below.

2. Write it down.

Some people find it difficult to process emotions in the mind.

By expressing your feelings through pen and paper, you’ll be able to free up some space in your head.

The physical act of writing things down can make a huge difference to how you feel.

It is a way of taking control of the situation whilst acknowledging that something is going on that’s upsetting you.

Journaling is a fantastic exercise and can make a huge difference to how you approach situations.

If you’re struggling with feelings of bitterness, this is a good way to look at things objectively and, ultimately, find a way to move on.

3. Talk it out.

This approach works better for some people and we’d really suggest using it alongside your journaling.

By voicing how you feel out loud, you are truly confronting your emotions.

This acknowledgement will help get rid of those feelings of guilt, which are very common among bitter people.

Hiding things away may feel like it’ll help them disappear….

…but the exact opposite often happens!

Suppressing or denying those feelings of stress and resentment can make them even worse because the sense of shame or guilt around them simply grows.

Things that we try to hide away quickly feel worse than they are because we’re dismissing them.

Guilt is a huge part of resentment, be it feeling guilty about our decisions in the past or feeling guilty and regretful of how we have treated someone.

Speak to someone you know you can trust and feel that you can be open with.

Or, try a form of talking therapy with a trained counselor who can help you work through your thoughts and feelings.

Honesty is so important with these kinds of tasks – you will get out what you put into this.

4. Don’t talk too much.

We know, we know – conflicting advice!

Whilst we believe it’s important to talk things out, be mindful of how you speak.

Sometimes, talking about things can cause you to relive the feelings as if for the first time.

Feelings of bitterness build up over time, so it makes sense that they also take a while to fade.

The more you go over how you feel and what you have experienced (and why you feel so hard done by), the more chances you give yourself to get worked up again.

We believe in the power of manifestation – what you think, becomes.

Talk about things when you feel the need, but set yourself some boundaries.

You can rant and complain as much as you need to on set days of the week, but give yourself (and the person you’re venting to!) a break every so often.

When we’re upset, we naturally want to find an explanation and solution. Going over and over the situation that’s bothering you can seem like a good way to get this kind of closure.

However, it can be taken too far and you can end up making things worse for yourself.

Find the balance between expressing your feelings and letting yourself live.

5. Meditate.

Meditation is an effective self-improvement activity that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.

Even if you take just 15 minutes a day to yourself, you’ll start to notice a huge shift in how you feel.

By having some time to yourself each day, you can check in with how you actually feel.

Feelings of bitterness tend to be all encompassing; they quickly become overwhelming and consume every waking thought.

This is normal, but not healthy.

Many of us get so fixated on these feelings of bitterness that we forget to check in with how we’re actually doing on a day-to-day basis.

Our knee-jerk reactions become negative very quickly when we are feeling bitter.

For example, we will automatically see the worst in any situation, immediately assume that people have bad intentions, and convince ourselves that we feel negative just because we think that’s our natural disposition.

Many of us automatically respond with ‘I’m tired’ when asked how we are without even considering whether or not this is true or just habit.

Use meditation as a tool to explore your inner mind; how you actually feel, not just how you think you feel.

Meditating lets us examine how we really feel and can help us shift away from feelings of bitterness purely by re-examining our lives and delving deeper into our minds.

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6. Get your blood pumping.

We all know that exercise is a key aspect of a healthy lifestyle, but we also know how hard it can be to fit into our busy lives.

Exercising, be that working out, running, or practicing yoga, releases endorphins that make us feel better.

By actively doing something to change our mindset, we not only give ourselves the self-respect we deserve, we also allow a physical change to happen.

Feeling bitter toward other people often stems from the insecurities we experience about ourselves, be that based on our personality or our appearance.

We’re not suggesting you take any drastic measures to change either of these aspects of yourself, but exercising is very good for your physical, mental, and emotional health.

By taking some control and actively making a decision to look after ourselves, the way we feel about ourselves will change.

The better we feel about ourselves, the more positive and the less resentful we feel about others.

7. Confront it!

Feelings of bitterness can often seem to arise from nothing.

All of a sudden, we find ourselves feeling very resentful or full of regret.

Again, this is normal. You are not alone in feeling frustrated, upset, or angry – the important thing is to move on from this.

Having acknowledged your feelings through talking or writing, it’s time to take the next step.

Identify who is at fault here. We will come on to self-accountability next, but, for now, let’s focus on working better with those around us.

If you genuinely feel that someone else may be partly or fully responsible for how you feel, confront them.

If you’re uncomfortable with this, we would suggest involving a mutual friend to act as mediator.

This confrontation is not meant to be aggressive, manipulative, or rage-fuelled!

It should be a healthy process that allows you to explain how you feel and, ideally, get some closure.

Do your best to not point the finger of blame, but to openly and honestly explain why you feel how you feel.

The idea here is not to rant and complain, but to come to a resolution.

Find a way forwards together that suits you both, whether this means adjusting your own actions or asking the other person to be more aware of your feelings.

8. Be accountable.

Whilst it’s important to work on improving your environment, you must accept some responsibility for how you feel.

Consider how you react to different situations and what may trigger these feelings of bitterness in you.

Yes, it may be that other people make you feel bad or ignite feelings of regret, but you have to look inside as well.

Why is it that you immediately jump to these feelings of bitterness?

Why do you struggle with some emotions more than others?

What role have you played in how you feel?

These questions may feel uncomfortable and they are not always that nice to answer.

It’s a human trait to protect ourselves, which often means ignoring just how involved we are in our own consciousness.

Show yourself some respect and allow yourself to process the feelings behind what’s going on.

You will quickly figure out what triggers these emotions and you can then take healthy steps toward avoiding these triggers or adjusting your behavior accordingly.

9. Set goals and make plans.

By taking an active rather than passive role in your own life, you can begin to shape how you feel and how you experience your own future.

Choose things to add to your calendar that will make you feel good.

This may be going to a salsa class, meeting up with friends for a drink after work, or simply scheduling in some alone time to decompress after a stressful day.

You can think long term, too, by adding in different kinds of goals and commitments.

Sign up to a ceramics class, book a holiday in the near future, or even join a gym and show yourself that you are worth committing to.

These kinds of activities not only make you feel good, but also show yourself that you’re taking self-care seriously.

When we feel bitter and upset, we get so wrapped up in these negative feelings that we often neglect what we really need as human beings.

Create the life you want for yourself even if you don’t feel you deserve it.

You will quickly become used to enjoying things and having things to look forward to, which may feel like a very welcome change after those upsetting feelings of regret, annoyance, and anger.

You are worth the things that make you happy, and you are in control of whether or not you do them.

10. Determine your future.

We only feel pain in relation to past events because we cling to them as a way continuing to feel safe.

This attachment to the past is what often brings up feelings of bitterness, resentment, and regret.

Our discomfort is not necessarily linked to past events, but to our unwillingness to let go of them.

Feeling bitter can be linked to feelings of unfinished business and a lack of closure.

Decide that you want a future that does not involve these emotions, and then do what you need to in order to achieve it.

Letting go of the past can be hard, but it allows you to move forward freely and create a future that you not only deserve but will thoroughly enjoy.

It sounds much easier than it is, of course, as do most things related to self-care, moving on, and personal development.

That said, the hard work will definitely pay off and you’ll feel much more positive, happy, and nourished – just as you deserve to feel.

About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.