The Pit of Desolation: Thoughts on Bitterness

Effortless it can be for an individual to fall into the depths of bitterness; the very state of enmity and agony against life. Deriving from the ugly circumstances the world has to offer while entering the mind in various forms; heartbreak, confusion, death, the effects of war, the destruction of homes, drugs, physical and mental abuse. As you all know, the list unfortunately goes on. Greatly impacting the social emotions of an individual by creating resentment towards friends, family, or just anyone around the individual’s life, especially toward his/herself. This is my first essay that I thought would be worth writing about. This is purely written out of thought with no real academic credibility on the topic, just ruminations of my perspective on the essence of bitterness. This stands more directed to those of my generation in the United States, who had the privilege to grow up in one of the easiest countries in the world. Yet, I’ve seen and heard much discontent of life. With this essay, I hope to convey that we all need to reflect on the world more, if not as much, as we do reflect on ourselves.

“So in all future events which might induce sadness remember to call on this principle: ‘this is no misfortune, but to bear it true to yourself is good fortune.’-Marcus Aurelius

Many remain bitter to the world, the people around them if ever to have not truly comprehend the proper elements for the crucible of their soul, accepting their tormented life as it is. Without ever acknowledging the forever changing circumstances of life and finding gratitude in any blessing. Often I observe that whenever someone pays tribute to a terrible tragedy in life, they will often draw in one of two elements that will forge a tremendous impact in their internal crucible; the first being the element of respect. The second, for which I think is easier, and slightly more desirable for an individual, is the element of resentment.

1.) The Element of Respect: No matter how agonizing or terrifying the tragedy may have been, the individual can take on the issue by bravely respecting the circumstances. Recognizing several factors such as being alive, having the support of others, enjoying the pleasures of food, music, and more. Being aware that they are still breathing, and can continue on making the best of their life. That whatever the circumstances, did not mark the end of what can be pursued and accomplished in their lifetime. Acting upon a truthful and healthy reflection of themselves, as well as caring for others in their own endeavors. 

2.) The Element of Resentment: Absorbing so much heartache and suffering, can turn one’s heart into a careless, arrogant, and/or a self-sabotaging person. Either openly insolent to world, or completely locking themselves up in a mental prison. This can also lead down the path of depression. However, a Bulgarian-French philosopher by the name, Julia Kristeva, holds to the view that depression is a dialogue that needs to be learned, and not a symptom that needs treatment. But I will write about my thoughts on depression in another essay. Overall, it seems to me that the very being of resentment is often the light that attracts mankind the most. However, it very much depends on the background and experience that the individual carries with them. Along with what makes up the character of the tragedy itself. 

Often I’ve observed many people fall into the pit of bitterness. I have dwelt in my own for a time. From the start the pit is not that deep, and the individual can get themselves out of it without much pain, yet often they choose not to. With consequence, that pit grows deeper like a narrow well with hardly any light from above, and no evidence of water below. Repeatedly absorbing the element of resentment with each new tragedy. The individual may realize the mistake they’ve embedded themselves into, but that does not mean it is too late. The well is narrow, and depending how desperate they are to ascend back to the surface of night and day, they can make the tight climb. Yet again, to my mind, this is a rare occurrence. For many rather stay below, paralyzed in the compressed dark, blaming others and the world for where they chose to dig. The attitudes they decided to adopt from their troubles. Folks have disagreed with me for making this statement; that it is easier to stay bitter than to work past it. Reason being is that sometimes a sense of pride can take it’s hold from bitterness. I’ve seen people develop a harden and arrogant attitude, especially over circumstances where it normally is not expected or just simply out of place to put on the act. I’ve seen folks around my age, who live in good homes, eat as much as they want, drive nice cars, have access to endless forms of entertainment, then act like they’ve been dealt the worst hand in life. It baffles me with such cases. That is not to imply that folks do not have a valid reason to be bitter, that just because of materialistic possessions should ease ones mind with happiness which is a myth. I am stating that not only do people take for granted what they possess in comparison to what the average man around the globe can only dream of obtaining, but that people often fall into this self loathing trap that life is of no value just because a certain conclusion did not take shape in the way they wanted. Sometimes, it seems that to remain bitter is another way of falsely fueling one’s ego. As if someone should low-key “respect” or take them “seriously” based on the tragedies they’ve endured.

The issue is that most are not generally raised to take a head on approach with sorrows. In my country, children are normally raised with a false ideology that happiness is the only thing worth living for, and to only think about the positives. That mentality is very destructive to the individual. So people at my age, grow up not learning how to deal with the wrong in this world, let alone embracing the negatives in a non resentful manner. Learning how to embrace the sorrows and to walk with the sufferings of life. I will never forget how Jesus Christ, whether one looks upon him as their lord and savior, or just as very wise man, was prophesied and remembered as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3) Hence why I believe that soul searching is crucial, and taking into consideration what other folks are going through in their own lives. That one should never neglect to ponder on the sufferings of oneself and the world, within reason of how to humbly act as a light to others. For when such teachings are absent, it will be easier to become an ambassador of misery. 

There is always hope to ascend from bitterness. The success can be attributed to a miracle from above, or self resolution to make the climb. However, there is still misfortunes and heartache beyond the pit. Always will be. One can not voyage in the light without going into the dark, and then to emerge into the light again. Very much does it matter on how to handle such miseries in life. What approach will one take? Is it to take the stance of cursing the world and hiding in the dungeons of grief? Or is to take the road of love and suffering, to further understand and enhance the human condition? In the end, it is never too late to leave the pit of bitterness. Life is unhesitating, but it is never too late. 

“Accept suffering and achieve atonement through it- that is what you must do.” -Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

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