BEST COLUMNS OF 2022 — Better or bitter – life is really a series of choices

If we were to take an honest look at our lives, each of us has a story to tell.  Most of us have no doubt experienced highs and lows.  Many of us have had disappointments, challenges, and setbacks along the way.  We have also experienced memorable moments, exciting experiences, and successful efforts.  While the experiences of life are different for all of us, the emotions are very similar.  Life is not “fair” and was never meant to be that way.  Similarly, the challenges in our lives shouldn’t define us, but we are defined by our responses to those challenges.

Coming from a broken home at an early age can be a challenge.  The resulting financial concerns, emotional instability, missing influence, and uncertain future can all lead to some strong emotions.  Similarly, those dealing with health issues, limited educational opportunities, insufficient athletic ability, or other constraints impacting our access to opportunities in life may also experience a wide range of emotions.  These emotions can include anger, resentment, inadequacy, and many more reactions.  At some point, we must ask ourselves the tough question: 

Are we going to remain bitter because of the circumstances dealt us or are we going to seek better?

While it’s not easy, we do have a choice.  Bitter means we are going to blame others, God, or just life in general and just accept where we are in life because of the “hand dealt us”.  Better is another choice.  Better doesn’t make the past go away or the challenges disappear, but rather is just a different response to these same issues.  Better says that we are not going to be defined by the event, the disappointment, the challenge, or the failure.  We may be limited to what we can do, but we will seek better rather than bitter.  We will seek to take whatever we do have or can do and be the best version of us that we can become.

A better focus accepts what’s happened as fact but does not accept that we can’t move forward.  Better looks to the future with hope, while bitter looks to the past with anger.  Better is enthusiastic about what can happen, while bitter is apathetic over what’s already happened.  Better continues to press forward looking for new opportunities while bitter gives up by focusing on present disappointments.  Better looks forward to a new day while bitter dwells on yesterday.

I don’t know where you are in life right now, but I encourage you to choose better when faced with that opportunity.  Life really boils down to a series of choices.  We can’t control a lot of what happens in life, but we can control our response.  I chose better at the age of twelve and have never looked back.  The challenges didn’t go away, but a better focus has made a world of difference!

Life is a series of choices.  What are you going to choose – better or bitter?

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