Ever Wonder What It Means To Be Bitter? The Answer Might Surprise You.
You know, there's a Scripture in the Bible that basically says bitterness causes trouble (Hebrews 12:15). And once you see some of the telling signs that someone is indeed a bitter person, I think it will be easy to understand why that point rings oh so very true. Because as an author by the name of Christine E. Szymanski once said, "If you are working hard to be a better you, you will have no time to be bitter." This basically implies that bitterness makes one stagnant and if you're choosing a mindset that literally keeps you stuck, there is nothing about it that benefits you in the long run.
What's really crazy is some folks out here have been bitter for so long that they don't even realize that it has taken over them. Therefore, just so we're all clear on what it means to be a bitter individual, here are eight strong indicators that you could very well be struggling with bitterness on some level. Take a deep breath, now. This might get a little bumpy before it all smooths out.
1. Bitter People Generalize
I can't stand it and I'm quite open about it. Whenever I see some article, social media post or television show that anchors its entire point on "men are trash", I immediately move on to something else. This is definitely a great place to start because no one has encountered every man which means to say that ALL men are trash is a toxic form of generalization. Not only that but, chances are, one has come to that conclusion either because 1) they keep making poor choices and refuse to take some personal accountability and/or 2) they are just repeating what they've heard other people state. Both reasons are counterproductive as all get out too. Not only that but if you decide to stay in such an unhealthy space, you could actually program your mind to believe that statement is true which could also mean that you won't even be able to see a good man when he does come along (if he's not present already).
What I just shared is one example of what it means to generalize. The bottom line is a great definition of generalize is "to infer or form (a general principle, opinion, conclusion, etc.) from only a few facts, examples, or the like". Did you peep the "few facts" part? People who generalize usually are coming from a space of limited information or flat-out ignorance. Nothing about that sounds like a progressive way of thinking. Hmph. No wonder this is a sign of being bitter.
2. Bitter People Hold Grudges
After watching how a lot of married couples got down as I was growing up and then after sitting through countless sessions with many of them now, if there is one thing that I'm sure of, it's that holding grudges is a manipulative power play. C'mon. What is the point of walking around, for days on end, either barely speaking or not speaking at all, just because you're mad or upset about something? And don't tell me after you just read that, that it didn't look childish as all get out to you too. Holding a grudge is about being resentful and oftentimes, it's also a way of trying to "bait someone in" with your bad energy until you can convince them to do or see things your way. It's literally conveying, "I won't move until I get what I want." And yes, bitter people are a lot like this (even if they do it from a passive aggressive angle).
Am I saying that if you are hurt/angry/disappointed that needing some time to cool off and process means that you're bitter? No. What I am saying is people who feel that way who aren't bitter individuals tend to be solutions-oriented. They want to resolve whatever the matter is as soon as possible. As a bonus, they respect time to the point where they don't take it for granted. People who hold grudges are typically so caught up in themselves that they don't even realize how much time they are wasting pouting, delving out the silent treatment or conjuring up whatever other stratagems they've got up their sleeve. Life's too short to hold grudges. Bitter people don't care about that. That's their problem.
3. Bitter People Complain a Lot
Whenever I think about complainers, it's actually another Scripture that comes to mind. The beginning of Philippians 2:13(NKJV) starts off by saying, "Do all things without complaining and disputing…" If you want to take this even further, on the way to the Promised Land, the Israelites spent 40 years on what was supposed to be an 11-day trip in the wilderness; in part, because they complained so much (Deuteronomy 1:1-3). Talk about a sobering life lesson. It took half a lifetime to go 11 days? How is that worth anything? Being out here, constantly talking (or is it whining?) about how unhappy you are, how difficult someone is or how much you wish something (or someone) would be better or different isn't really helping you to get anything accomplished…now is it?
Bitter folks don't think this far. They are literally the walking definition of wallowing in one's own mess. It's almost like they're addicted to negativity so much that they repel any kind of positivity or perspectives that can help them to feel better and handle things differently. I'm pretty sure we all know a chronic complainer. Think about how being around them makes you feel. Yeah, that's another thing about bitter people. They will literally drain the life outta you if you let them. That's why spending as little time in their presence as possible is best.
4. Bitter People Shift Blame
Whew. This one right here, y'all. One sign that someone is a responsible adult is they hold themselves personally accountable. What does that mean? They don't use other people to justify or defend their own bad choices. They don't constantly give excuses. They don't deflect when they are called out on their stuff. They don't play the "poor me" role when they do something wrong. They don't romanticize their poor decisions. They own their stuff so that they can take responsibility and learn how to do and be better.
Bitter folks? They don't do this at all. EVERYTHING is because of someone else. Shoot, I'm triggered even writing on this point because I've had to put some real distance between myself and some family members because this is how they get down. No matter how abusive they are, somehow, it's because of what someone else said or did. And here's the thing — when someone refuses to take personal accountability, it's very difficult for them to change their behavior. This means that they will continue to be a victimizer as you continue to be a victim.
It's a very self-aware and emotionally healthy trait to be able to hold yourself accountable. It's also on the endangered species list, if you ask me. Anyway, if you know someone who avoids accountability like the plague, while it's not discussed enough, that is also a telling sign of pure unadulterated bitterness.
5. Bitter People Are Easily Triggered
All of us have triggers (check out "How To Handle Folks Who 'Trigger' You"). That said, as someone who's been more relentless than ever about maintaining my own peace of mind, a sign of true freedom is learning where your triggers come from and applying ways to deactivate them so that they don't rule over your entire life or cause you to constantly be on an emotional roller coaster.
Not wanting to be triggered all of the time requires some serious emotional maturity because a lot of people want to be able to think that it's OK to act on their triggers, simply because a button of theirs was pushed. To them, it helps to justify whatever potentially ridiculous actions they take. They can simply say, "I mean, I wouldn't have done or say that if so-and-so didn't trigger me." Yeah, that doesn't fly because when you become an adult, you realize that there are very few things that anyone can "make" you do. Your words and actions are your own choice.
You know, something that I say often is, "Healed and wounded people see things very differently." Healed folks don't like the upheaval that comes with being triggered often. Wounded and bitter folks don't mind it because it just feeds more into their already-negative state of mind. Taking all of this in, which side of the coin seems more appealing to you? If it's the latter…why is that?
6. Bitter People Are Unteachable
Semi-recently, someone asked me what my favorite Musiq Soulchild songs were. One of the ones that I shared was "teachme". One of the things that I like about it is the lyrics reveal that he was vulnerable enough to express what he didn't know about love and why. And because of those things, he needed some help. That is the opposite of being bitter because bitter folks have so many walls up that they won't allow anyone teach them anything. They're not open to opinions about why they think the way that they do. They won't let down their guard enough to be offered some helpful insights and tips on how to approach things differently. Pretty much, unless you're going to listen to them moan and groan for hours on end, they don't really want to talk to you.
I've actually got a friend who's going through this right now. Every time their friend calls them, all they want to do is gripe about their marriage and, no matter how many suggestions that my friend offers them, they either find a way to shoot the idea down or it totally goes over their head. You know, none of us can get to the next level in life if we're not willing to learn new things. If you're someone who can't be taught anything, chances are, it's either your pride or bitterness rearing its ugly head. Neither are attractive. Or beneficial. Not one bit.
7. Bitter People Gossip Nonstop
Listen, anyone who says they don't gossip, they are a liar. How do I know? Because even if somehow you manage to not engage in "idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others" when it comes to people you know (this would include your family members, by the way), you probably do partake as it relates to celebrity news, politicians or the like. Why we're so attracted to gossip, I'm not completely sure. I think a lot of us are nosy. I think a lot of us find a pompous sense of pleasure in acting like we would do better than others if we were in their position. I think sometimes we'd prefer to avoid our world and get all caught up in the lives of others. Whatever the reason may be, while gossip is a pretty human and common trait, it's still something that we should ever-strive to do less.
Bitter folks don't think so. Because they see things from such a warped, negative and basically toxic point of view, more times than not, gossip provides them with the fuel they are looking for to remain in that space. That's because it's easier to talk about what other people are doing than to put forth the concerted effort to focus on what they need to do. Basically, another trait of bitter folks is they are lazy. And since gossip is about idle chatter, it is the language of the lazy, wouldn't you say? Ouch.
8. Bitter People Can’t Be Happy for Others
Remember that relative I referenced earlier? Something that it took me years to recognize is they are also pretty narcissistic. The reason why I say that is 1) they constantly find a way to make everything be about them and 2) when something great happens in their life, they want to be over-the-top celebrated yet when something good happens for someone else, they find a way to shade the individual. Case in point, I remember when a friend of mine got a great position and I told my relative about it. The first thing that they did was talk about how they had a similar gig; then they went on to express how they didn't understand why my friend was even qualified. A hater. The worst kind of one.
I'm gonna end this here because it's a great place to stop. After reading all that I just shared about bitter people, how in the world could they possibly be genuinely happy for anyone else? They are too angry and/or irritable and/or self-absorbed and/or moody and/or petty to let that happen. So, if you're someone who doesn't know how to be truly happy for other people and their achievements or you know someone who is this way, there's no way around the fact that it's a sign of bitterness. It's also a huge wake-up call because as a wise person once said, "Bitter and unhappy people will never trust or see the good in anyone because they don't trust or see the good in themselves." That's the bad news. The good news is, now that you know better, you can do better. You can choose to no longer be a bitter person — and that's never not an amazing decision.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Over the last few years, the upkeep of my nails has become a top priority. I’ve explored different lengths, tested out a range of designs and colors, and have gone from gel-x to acrylic and, currently, Russian manicures. As assured as I am about my signature nail look, one thing that I will always be open to is a new trend that sparks inner confidence — and the “black nail theory” is the latest to do just that.
If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you may have noticed that manicure lovers are putting new concepts surrounding their nails to the test. Last fall, the “red nail theory” took the internet by storm with promises to evoke male attention, compliments, and even a date or two on a subconscious level. And now, just a year later, a deeper and more mystic hue is being spotlighted for its alluring appeal.
#blacknails💅 #boldyblooming #blackspiritualists
What Is “Black Nail Theory”?
The concept of “black nail theory” is centered on the idea that applying black nail polish can significantly influence an individual's inner confidence and overall lure. Black nails are thought to possess a distinctive quality that communicates a sensual and captivating energy, bringing forth boldness and mystery. On a psychological level, black is said to be symbolic of “power, elegance, and sophistication.”
Personally, red has never quite been my color; so when I saw the black nail theory making its rounds, I immediately knew it could be an internet trend that I could get behind and try for myself.
Testing Out The Theory
Deciding on the approach that I would take with my black nails came fairly easy. I’m a French tip girl to my core, so if I was going to commit to such a bold color like black, I’d have to take it gradually, and not commit to a fully blacked-out nail look.
Leaving the nail salon with my new set, I instantly felt myself channel my inner baddie. The black French tip complimented my complexion perfectly, and I was even able to test the theory out while on a date later that evening.
Throughout the night, I was complimented by both my date and the waitress on my nails, and I felt an inward motivation to share just enough about myself while leaving more to be discovered.
The following week, my friend and I went out to a party with the sole purpose of being cute and having fun, only to find a handful of men stopping to get my name and make conversation. One even went as far as to take my hand and examine nails that were adorned with gold rings.
On a more personal level, my time with black nails has been my handy reminder to trust my intuition and enter every room with confidence. Having my nails done naturally gives me an extra boost of confidence, but with the added touch of having them painted black, I’ve seen myself tap into the sultry and captivating "dark feminine" energy that I desire to embody.
Would I Try This Again?
If all it took was a change in my nail color in order to attract love and confidence into myself, I would probably be married by now. But testing out black nail theory has been insightful to explore interpersonally.
How I present myself to the world and what I feel like I deserve all matters, and that doesn’t just start or end when my nails are freshly done.
Confidence is a full-package deal that comes wrapped in self-care, self-concept, and self-esteem. I get my nails done because that’s what makes me feel good, and whatever attention that draws in, I know that it’s a part of what I’m putting out into the world.
If I’m feeling fiery, I’ll test out a red design. If I’m in a girly mood, I’ll test out pink or ask for painted bows. And if I’m going for something more standout, I’ll let my nail tech take an idea and freestyle from there. All in all, nails are just another form of self-expression and should be a chance to showcase your inner world on the outside.
So yes, if red nails are the flashy antidote to drawing in attention, then black nails are the look to channel a “quiet” confidence that keeps them wanting more.
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