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Bitter or Better:

Steps to Change those Letters

by Michelle P. Jones

Just like 99.9% of the people who call earth their home, I have experienced hurt, pain, disappointment, fear, disillusionment, joy, peace, love, forgiveness, favor, and grace. Any of the experiences we have had has the ability to challenge us to be better instead of bitter. It is up to us to choose which it will be for our self. By not choosing, the choice is being made to be bitter and to invite all the hurt, unforgiveness, and anger that accompanies bitterness into a life already struggling just to live. I was taught as a child and it was reaffirmed as an adult, not to allow unforgiveness to fester in my life and heart because there is nothing positive that can come from it. It was impressed upon me that by holding on to unforgiveness, I am giving the person who perpetrated the wrong against me power in and over my life, actions, and happiness. How unforgiveness has the ability to shade the lenses you see people and the world through which directly resulted in you failing to grow and learn to be better, while accepting the bitterness into your life. Without intending to, you unknowingly allowed unforgiveness and its corresponding bitterness to encapsulate your heart, while only allowing you to see the negativity in the nouns that showed up in your life. All while believing, in some way, you deserved the treatment you received.

Once while working through a hurtful experience, I began listening to a song by Tori Kelly, that says “…they say don't get bitter, get better, I am working on switching those letters…” Those lyrics spoke directly to the hurt place in my heart and began ministering to me in ways I cannot put into words. The entire experience showed me, when a heart has been broken or a life experiences disappointment that literally shakes the foundation on which you stand, it is hard to see any good that can come from the act/experience. The hurt and/or disappointment evokes an emotional response that demands attention, but like many of us, you run from your emotions instead of dealing with them. Your choice to run makes it impossible for you to exist in the better available to you, thereby causing you to become bedfellows with bitterness.

God taught me an invaluable lesson when my daughter was 2 years old (she is 36 now). God taught me that unforgiveness is easy and is steeped in misery, negativity, and bitterness, but forgiveness takes work! God showed me that when offering forgiveness to the perpetrator, the person they wronged must welcome the feelings the act evoked in them. I learned, you will have to identify each feeling and expose it to stop its bombardment into your life. You must work through your emotions by exposing the act and its corresponding emotions to the light of day (talk it out/through with a trusted friend, counselor, therapist, etc.) thereby removing any negativity and/or bitterness it may leave behind in your life at its departure. Also, you must actively love on yourself as you work to release the emotions while overcoming the experience. I have found that most of us don't understand the power of our words and its healing abilities in our own life. When healing from emotionally infused hurt/disappointment, I learned how to focus on one quality I loved about myself and I reminded myself how that quality made me a better person several times throughout the day, and then I would build on my list as I consistently included qualities I loved about myself (especially those qualities the act caused me to think negatively about). Another integral and important action I took was to limit the access people had to me and who I allowed in my head and heart space during my healing time. It was imperative that only those who spoke positivity into my life had access to me. I made the choice to come through the experience whole and better than before. I cannot tell you when it happened, but before I knew it, I had released the unforgiveness and its corresponding bitterness. What I didn't realize is that I had changed the letters while giving myself permission to release the very things that were meant to destroy me and introduced another level of self-love into my life that became a part of the foundation I stand on today.

Some say that offering forgiveness is simply a change of perspective. However, I beg to differ! It is becoming determined to do your personal self-work to ensure you change those letters in your own life. Each of us has to be the captain of the experience’s ship with God as the navigator. As parents, we want to keep our children from experiencing anything hurtful and/or negative, but this isn't something we can do for them. Every person must take this journey alone with God. All any loved one can do is be cheerleaders while supporting them from the sidelines (i.e. sending inspirational text messages daily, praying, sending an encouraging card, etc.). Each of us must travel this road and make the choice if the experience will either leave us bitter or better! It is up to you to choose which outcome you desire and then either give into the bitterness or do the work to change the letters in your own life. I challenge you to choose whether you will be bitter or better from the hurtful experiences you’ve had. As long as there’s still breath in your body, it isn’t too late to change the letters for yourself. As they say, it isn’t over until the fat lady sings, and I haven’t heard a peep from her in years!!!

Michelle P. Jones

Michelle P Jones is an ordained minister, an Amazon International Bestselling author, business and ministry strategist, and inspirational/motivational speaker. Michelle is the President/CEO of Michelle P. Jones, Inc., a professional services firm, where she specializes in informing, empowering and equipping entrepreneurial creatives in structuring their business/ministry endeavors for success and continued growth. Michelle has self-published two (2) books for national distribution: Grasping your success: Six steps to Starting an Legitimizing your Business and Walking on Water in my Stiletto: How God Strengthen my Faith-walk, is a contributing author in As for Me and My House: Stories to help on board households for entrepreneurship and will soon release her fourth book for national distribution. Michelle is also the executive producer and host of the Girlz Talk... Real Talk Podcast, that can be found on all major podcast platforms, where she provides a safe place for women and men to have those difficult yet necessary conversations that have the potential of changing the trajectory of their life while empowering and enabling them to live their truth, their purpose, their life OUT LOUD and in living color. If you have any questions and/or to obtain additional information, please contact Michelle via email at


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