Do you have areas of your business which make you feel bitter? Situations or people that really expose your nerves and leave you feeling agitated that you have to deal with them?
If you find yourself feeling bitter or agitated with any regularity, it is negatively affecting your business and job performance. Also know that if you experience bitterness ‘on the reg,’ you’re not alone.
I thought to write this post because I’ve encountered a lot of clients wrestling with bitter feelings about everything from employee behaviors to customer demands to compensation to paying taxes…if you can think of it, somebody’s bitter about it.
It’s easy to become lulled into believing that bitterness and frustration are normal and just part of your daily experience, but bitterness is bad for you and your business and should be addressed like any other condition adversely affecting your environment; with vigor.
Try your best to live in peace with everyone. Try to be holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord… Be sure that no one misses God’s grace. See to it that a bitter plant doesn’t grow up. If it does, it will cause trouble. And it will pollute many people.Hebrews 12:14-15
Consequences of Bitterness
- It’s really difficult to be objective and make good decisions when you’re agitated or bitter.
- It’s also very apparent to your employees and customers when you’re bitter over something. There’s a very recognizable and unpleasant air about someone who is bitter.
- Other people may misinterpret the reason for your negative disposition in a given moment and respond in ways undesirable to you or your business as a result
- Bitterness and the associated anxiety is bad for your physical health
- God does not like bitterness
How do you avoid or eliminate bitterness?
The hardest step seems to be recognizing that you are harboring bitter feelings. While I don’t keep tabs on this detail, it seems to me that every time I ask someone why they are bitter or some related synonym the response is almost universal as, “I’m not bitter.”
My favorite personal denial when a trusted advisor asks me about my trouble areas is to explain why my bitterness is justified. “I’m not bitter, I’m simply responding normally to the idiotic and ridiculous actions of the other party.” A popular hit from clients I hear with regularity is “I would never tell my employees this, I’m just telling you.”
So the most challenging step toward growing better over bitter is to search the bitterness out. Pay attention to where bitterness lives in your life or where you feel extraordinary tension.
When you recognize people or things that give rise to bitterness, you can begin to take action that will help you eliminate it.
Actions to Help Remedy Bitterness
- Pray – There is no greater remedy than prayer and meditation over causes of bitterness and asking the Lord to purge your bitter feelings. Give it to God.
- Reconcile – Where bitterness involves other people and wherever possible you should work toward reconciling differences. Be objective, use trusted and competent counselors to help you and make amends with no expectation or requirement of reciprocation by the other party. Make peace with the issue.
- Remedy – With the help of trusted and competent advisors, make action plans to improve the situation. If you are capable of positively affecting the cause of your bitterness, do it.
- Acceptance – With a steady discipline of prayer, reconciliation and remedial actions, sometimes we need to let things go. Within the world of reason and void of harmful circumstances, it’s liberating to accept things that cannot be changed. We continue to pray, work toward reconciliation and taking actions where we can, but give people or things that we can’t affect over to God.
Harboring resentment or bitterness contaminates the well of your life. Bitterness is infectious and will spread to others causing harm to yourself and to your business.
Be vigilant in watching for bitter plants that may have sprouted under your feet without your noticing. Take action to not let bitterness grow and enjoy a better business and a better life.