One of my favorite slogans is ‘be better, not bitter’ because it’s a constant reminder that when we foster negativity within our hearts, it only spirals us down instead of up.
When someone wrongs us, the easiest thing to do is to be angry, to feel spiteful, to want to seek revenge. It’s hard to let go, to breathe, to forgive, to move on. But when we choose to do those positive things, we bring and build light within our hearts and rise above.
Forgiveness is powerful. When we choose to forgive, we are choosing to not let the circumstances of this life define us. We are choosing to grow beyond pain. We are choosing to remove toxicity and bring ourselves onto productive, empowering paths, rather than ones that destroy our hearts, leaving us empty and unfulfilled.
How many times have you tried to seek revenge and only ended up feeling immature? How many times have you expended time and emotion on your anger, only to leave yourself exhausted and worse off than before?
‘Be better, not bitter.’ This means that you are choosing to better yourself, to better your situation, to better your next step instead of wasting energy on ‘getting back’ at someone.
When you choose to be better you choose to let someone’s words roll off your back. You choose to acknowledge the humanness within all of us, and though that doesn’t necessarily lessen the pain this person has caused you, you accept mistakes and sinfulness as a part of this world and don’t let what someone says, does, or implies about you ruin the way you see yourself.
When you choose to be better, you choose to forgive because forgiveness sets yourself free.
You choose to rid yourself of thing people and environments that are holding you hostage. You choose to breathe clearly, without doubt or anger in the forefront of your mind. You choose to look forward, rather than back, and see the places you will go instead of the sadness you’re currently in.
You choose to start again.
People are going to let you down. People are going to break your heart. People are going to disappoint, betray, hurt, and hold grudges against you. You have to remember, first and foremost, that you cannot control what other people think/believe/do/say/feel about you. Then you have to understand that others perspectives and perceptions of you do not define who you are.
Forgiveness is a tool that brings you hope and peace. It is not weakness.
Forgiveness is not ‘giving in.’ It is not letting the other person win; rather it’s choosing to be the bigger person and walking away with you head held high, knowing that in truly honoring what forgiveness means you’re not only letting yourself go, but letting that person go, too, so that they are able to find it within their own hearts to forgive, repent, and move forward. You are no longer responsible, nor involved.
So choose to forgive. Choose to rise above the negativity. Choose to rise above the people who treat you with less respect than you deserve. Choose to find joy and happiness, instead of getting sucked into being bitter, harboring anger in your chest, and sulking in what’s long passed.
You cannot change how people treat you, but you can change your response, your heart, and where you wish to go next. You can break the cycle of frustration and anger and look with joy towards what’s coming.
You can choose to be better.