Bitterness, it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth and hinder the enjoyment of food for a while after. This is the same when held onto and stuffed away in our lives. Unfortunately most of the time it comes up when you least expect it and is taken out on those who do not deserve it.
Bitterness was explained to me as similar to a mint plant. One little plant will continue to grow and spread like a weed sending out a large root system to other areas of your field, in this case your life. This creates us to think we have it under control and still have it show up to many others and not even know it.
The definition of bitter: having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes. Producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.
For many years I was hanging on to the issues I faced as a child with my family, friends and classmates. One little event after another began to pile up inside and I continued to hide it away from fear of a confrontation of any kind. I was a very skinny, tall, pail skinned redhead with freckles so fitting in was always my number one goal. My lack of confidence and self-esteem made for a perfect opportunity for others to take advantage of me and my desire to “fit in” only fuel their attempts.
I was picked on and bullied a bit but honestly I didn’t have a hard time in school because I had a couple of very important gifts, one I was very quick to think of something to say and two most of it was very funny. This is an attribute I carry to this day with pride.
One thing was missing in all of the laughter and humor, it is true happiness. I was still alone inside and this loneliness would be the seed of my bitterness that has been growing for the better part of 30 years.
The mint plant I cultivated would come out many years later in conversations with my wife and children, and neither of them played a part in or was even around during the time of abuse, yet they are still mistreated as if they were the cause of my bitterness.
Up until the last month I had no idea what bitterness was or how it affected me. Now I can see how it was a tool developed to fight back without actually fighting. It is an act of violence to others and can create serious damage if not worked through. In my opinion it is the one act that truly brings you down the road of emptiness, loneliness and separation.
“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness”. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I know from personal experience how damaging it can be to live with bitterness and unforgiveness. I like to say it’s like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. And it really is that harmful to us to live this way”. – Joyce Meyer
I have begun the process of digging up the roots of my mint plants and working through some of the deep anger and hurts that became the seeds of my bitterness. The more I dig the lighter I feel, and the more freedom from the burdens of all the aggressions I release.
No more passive aggressive pokes or taking it out in small doses to those around me.
I have a new plan for my life, the plan is to harvest all the mint in my life and to spend the remaining years of my life surrounded by my friends and family while enjoying a never ending supply of mint for our mojitos.