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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Bitterness

Recently, a young foreign woman accused me of bitterness in our chat. It would be easy for me to waive this accusation by using terms like reverse psychology and projection (see my April 16 blog). I say "easy" as I only hear this accusation from women when they are upset. And I don't feel bitter. Although to be honest, I should add the word 'anymore' to that previous sentence. However, let's suppose - at least for arguments sake - that this label "bitterness" would indeed make sense.

There has been a lot of bitterness inside me during my married years. My daughter has only seen that side of me for years and has never seen the new me so far. I think and feel that bitterness is the result of a combination of prolonged disillusion and lack of hope that the situation will change. Bitterness may be found in relationships or at work. No doubt everybody knows a bitter colleague. And I seriously doubt that studies and sports are exempted from bitterness.

Sure I'm disappointed in relationships and in women. For me, it is difficult to find someone that meets the 4 criteria for a viable relationship, being communication, intimacy, respect and trust. In nearly each and every situation, there is at least one deficiency. And in the rare situation where all 4 criteria do match, there is no mutual love. I just realised that my disappointments may well relate to my lack of experience with relationships. I started "late", have had only two so far, and both failed.

Nevertheless, the difference between bitterness and disappointment is Hope. Hope is a fundamentally positive outlook on Life. Carpe Diem versus Memento mori. Also see my April 12 blog on the (new) classification of human emotions. And Hope is what I regained in life, after first losing it.

Bitterness is a kind of anger and part of the 7 stages of human recovery after experiencing a loss: shock/disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, acceptance & hope (link). Some people never come to the next stage - or the final stage. Denial is a notorious hurdle. Depression too. I have experienced all of these stages in recent years. It's my firm belief that Faith is a powerful tool for conquering these 7 stages. Without Faith we would either drown or indulge in our emotions.

A new Love is another powerful tool to conquer a loss. Nevertheless, I feel and think that Love is like a Monopoly card that lets you make a jump to Start while avoiding all hurdles (jump-start). Avoiding these hurdles is like skipping a class: sooner or later you have to deal with it unless you're truly exceptional. For most of us, it just adds to our dark side of "undealt-with" human emotions.

Remarkably, it is highly recommended to women to start dating after experiencing a loss: "One of the most important steps in rebuilding your life after divorce is to start dating. It'll be hard, but the sooner you starting dating, the easier it will be for you to regain your emotional well-being." (link)

Obviously, there are more roads to Rome than just one. I have tried both: first dating and then a full loss recovery. My fundamental problem with dating - after a loss - is the lack of Lessons Learned. You are bound to make the same mistakes again. To date I am only in the stage of 'how' to apply my lessons learned which is almost an entire blog in itself.

It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. Bill Gates quote