choosing not to be bitter

By Dana Fox

I’m sure that we’ve all had our own experiences with people in the past who have hurt us, people we have been angry with, or people we have looked at with daggers in our eyes. The very sight of them or mention of their name gets under our skin and can bring back those angry feelings.  We disassociate with people and even cut them out of our lives. We grow up and move on… or do we?

I made a decision a short while ago that I wasn’t going to be bitter anymore. I wasn’t going to dwell on the past and think of somebody as if what happened between us was only yesterday instead of forever ago.  I accepted that people can change and that I as a person have changed as well. I am not someone who can usually hold a grudge, and if I do it’s usually because it’s been provoked. So why was I creating so much useless negative energy towards somebody instead of turning it into positive thoughts?  I can’t even remember why these angry feelings began in the first place and why they spiraled so out of control.

I decided that I wasn’t going to be that girl anymore. Instead, I was willing to let go of those bad memories and rediscover the good ones… and let me tell you, it feels pretty great.

I decided that I was going to accept people for who they are, not who they were, because there is no use letting myself experience negative feelings and act as though I wasn’t the one who put those feelings there in the first place.

Only I am responsible for how I feel, nobody else has that power… so why give it away?

What about you? Can you forgive and forget?

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Dana Fox
Dana Fox
About me

I am a country loving Canadian with a mind that never sleeps. When I'm not running the Wonder Forest blog ship, you can find me creating artwork for phone cases and home decor, whilst managing the daily tasks of Dana Fox Creative. Visit me at the links below if you wanna be friends!


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  • Jennifer

    You're such a smart girl.
    I have decided the same as you…I was hurt several times by someone very close to me and carried around angry, bitter feelings for the longest time. Then I realized that the way I felt about that person was more about me and not so much about them.
    I have forgiven (you can't really control what your brain forgets)and CHOSEN joy over anger.
    What's done is done…carrying anger allows your emotions to control you and your situation, never a good thing…
    you've chosen wisely…

  • Shannon Chomanczuk

    Yes, I am that girl. The one that forgives. We were treated very wrongly by my husband's brother and his wife a few months after my daughter was born. It left us with no income for over 2 years. When I decided to forgive and move on my brother in law and his wife said they didn't do anything wrong (selfish people always thing they did nothing wrong). I was having heart pain so I know it was time to let it go so I forgave them. The heart pain went away immediately.
    My SIL wrote a 10 page letter and cc it to the entire family about how dare I forgive them when they did nothing wrong! Well let me tell you I wanted to smack her but instead I forgave her again, to her face again and said I felt wronged and you do not have control over how I feel, I forgive you for hurting my family.
    We are not friends now but that is only because even though I forgive it doesn't mean I will allow them to hurt my family again and they have hurt us many times over the last 15 years.
    A nun told me once you forgive but you do not forget, you do not let it happen again and it doesn't make it okay.

  • AVY

    It's a hard thing to to, but it's really the only. Being angry takes a lot of energy.

    / Avy

  • kimberrleigh

    I use to be that girl until my relationship with my ex blew up two years ago. He first dumped me (yes, I went back twice) on the day my Dad had Triple Bypass heart surgery. How crummy right?

    After I left him for good, I realized the whole relationship I was bitter, needy and just angry. It took a few months for me to look back and see how angry I was at everyone for my actions.

    Now, I try to live the way I'd want my friends to live – happy, honest, grateful. Some people think I am unhappy when I'm honest, but my honesty is a way for me to let go of things so I'm not bitter. I'd rather have it out there than bottled up inside.

  • Kim Wedlock

    I can totally relate. I'd heard from time to time that happiness was a choice, and always thought it was stupid. But one day a few weeks ago it suddenly clicked. If you're annoyed, it is entirely up to you whether you let it continue. It's up to you if you get angry at things, or sad at things. Sometimes it might not seem it but we can control our emotions with practise. Once you realise this, insults don't hurt as much, and it becomes a lot easier to smile. I've been letting things go if my boyfriend annoys me, or I see something that irritates me – what's the point letting it? Where will that get me in life?

    Well done for seeing the same thing. It's a lot easier to be happy when you're able to let go of negative things. No one likes to be angry, so why do we let ourselves hold grudges? They do nothing but make us mad! It's crazy, how the human mind workds.

  • Saar

    I really like the way you look at things and I admire the people who can do the same. I used to be the one who was so naive people could tell me anything they wanted, I just believed them. So you could say I was the least bitter person you have ever seen. At some point though I got hurt so bad I just kind of shut everybody out… I distrusted everyone, I wouldn't say I was bitter. It was just hard for me to trust people at that point. Now I came to a point in my life where I'm able to do my own thing and I stopped caring about what other people would think of me, I let people in my life more and I'm happy now. I'm a really cheery person when I'm with the people I love the most. But for me there are things that can't be forgiven. Some people really don't change at all, they don't care about the things they've done. I'm not bitter, but I can't put my energy in trying to forgive people who will never change. But like I said… Maybe I wish I could. It would be simpler wouldn't it? :)

  • Jessica @ Lovely Little Things

    Such an inspiring post that really hits home for me!
    I'm terrible about letting grudges fester inside of my heart…I've really been trying to release that and this was a great reminder…thanks Dana :)


  • Jussie De Guida

    I love this! I am totally the same, when I am mad at some one I cannot look passed it. I will hold a grudge for the rest of my life, but hearing this is quite refreshing. Maybe I should try to stop being bitter, what is the point of staying mad?

  • Nicole

    This is so great, Dana. You really put things in a perspective I haven't thought about. Thank you!

  • Courtney @ Violet Hill Boutique

    People come and go to teach us a lesson. To show us a new perspective. To show us what love is. I don't know why sometimes I think it's easier to hold on to the anger and to hold a grudge but maybe I do that so I don't feel the hurt or the emptiness. But I know that if I let it go…that isn't what I feel. I feel loved.

    Thank you for an inspiring post today Dana!

  • tara polly

    this resonates with me like you wouldn't believe. did you… read my journal or something? thanks for writing this, perfect for today. xo!

  • JanM ♥

    I can forgive but forgetting is not very easy for me. I remember things vividly, even my coworker's wife's birthday – that kind of memory so it's kind of challenging letting go of things sometimes. But I've learned that it's easier to forget someone when you don't see them or if it's someone you're always with, I found it easier to just tell him/her when you're starting to think about what they've done so they can assure you. Words can mean so much in those times. So… here's to being better! :)


  • Tam Hess

    There are so many people who have been hurt…who are the people that hurt us and take advantage or are selfish? I am so curious about these different social disorders. I feel like it shouldn't be allowed. Dana your perspective and insight is wonderful! I just wish people would have manners and kindness to begin with so we wouldn't have to pick ourselves up after they've run over us!

  • Allie Todd

    Forgiving is very important. Forgetting on the other hand…
    … if we teach ourselves to forget that means that we aren't learning from whatever it was that happened in the first place. It's important to deal with whatever the issues were and let them shape you (and not control you). It's also important to not let history repeat itself.

    Of course everybody's been hurt by people in the past, myself included. For me, in some circumstances, I've forgiven them in my heart but that doesn't necessarily mean I want them back in my life.

  • amber kanady

    a friend had hurt me so bad that i had to end the friendship. it was so tough and i held onto the hurt and resentment for awhile. then one day, i realized that bitterness was making me into a person i didn't want to be. i forgave her.

    but tragically, her and her husband were killed in a car accident last month. i never told her that i had forgiven her. it didn't matter if the friendship could be salvaged, it was that she needed to know that i forgave her.

    i say forgive and remember the lesson. but also let that person know of the forgiveness. you don't want to carry that around with you.

  • es-jay

    What lovely words, It's so hard to forgive and forget when you know exactly why those negative and angry feelings came about. When the very thought of that person brings back nightmares I dont think it's ever possible to forgive but I do think you can forget. I agree that letting go and moving on feels so good, to finally stop letting those thoughts wear away at you and eat you up but to just accept that it was the past and a learning curve and that one day it'll all just be a distant bitter memory.

    great post lovely – for beauty reviews, hauls and health posts


  • Laura

    Hey sweetie! You have a very beautiful blog with a lot of inspiring posts! I'd like to invite you to be my friend and follow each other:)

  • momto8

    I pray for them.
    good luck with your struggles. peace.
    I am your newest follower from the hop…pls follow back f you can.

  • Felicity

    I made this same decision a couple of years ago actually. I reignited a friendship with someone I used to go to school with and hadn't been in contact with for over 8 years. The last time I was in contact with them was to tell them to stop bullying me (yes, bullying) and never speak to me again. 8 years later I found myself in a situation where I could either choose to move on in and include them in my life or stay bitter and close off any chance of a friendship altogether. Unfortunately I chose to move on and forgive them.. biggest mistake I ever made. :(

  • Rad Rag Designs

    How's come in your photos you always cover your mouth up and you never smile? Your eyes are beautiful, but I would love to see the rest of your face more and your smile too! :)

  • dana @ wonder forest

    @Rad Rag Designs

    I actually LOLed at this haha! silly girl, there are bajillions of pictures of me smiling and not covering my mouth on this blog. I actually think this is only one of like 3 photos of me covering it up! ;p

  • Julianne Dom

    I have been hurt in the past, and I know that I am able to forgive but I don't think that you can ever forget especial if someone you love has hurt you.

    I just recently entered the world of blogging and I think that yours is so pretty and inspiring! I wish I was as creative as you are.


  • Cait

    omg girl AMEN to this :) i def am feeling the same way and am so glad you posted this. i need to also stop dwelling on the past- move on and realize that everything happens for a reason

  • Jenny

    It's so hard to let go of that negative energy sometimes, but I know that I feel so much better when I release the bitterness. By the way, I have to say that you have beautiful eyes! I am your newest follower from the Networking Blog Hop! I would love if you would check out my blog and if you like what you see please follow back :)
    Modern Modest Beauty

  • Smooth Criminal F

    Better future awaits, so keep sm:)ling

  • Miss Amy

    Good thinking. Never give away that power – that person doesn't deserve it! Love the inspiration. :)

  • Ami

    wow.. reading this made me feel so much better!
    I recently saw a quote somewhere, that said "Let the past make you better, not bitter" and I have been trying to live by those words!
    I've definitely never been able to forgive and forget, but then I remember that I have probably hurt people just as much with or without knowing it. And like you said, the past is the past and there is nothing you can do about it. So it's better to not waste energy on it.. easier said than done, but at least we're trying to live more positively!!!

  • Adeola Naomi

    Smart move, it keep all the drama away and also give you the peace you need.
    Its better to forgive and forget than keep the drama inside!

  • Debra Howard

    Way to go girl! When we do not forgive those who hurt us then we give them way too much power over our lives. We have a saying down here in Texas you can be bitter or you can be better. You definitely chose better.

  • Lu

    Thats really inspirational :) I dont usually get that angry now with people but I wish you all the best that you continue. i think its quite important

  • dearsafia

    I always try so hard to forgive and forget but sometimes it's just too difficult…I always have an idea of how I want to be with people in my head and try to realise it, but a lot of the time it just doesn't work. Some wounds don't heal eh!

    I know I need to change though,I'll never be happy otherwise. Great post. Nice and thought provoking for a Thursday afternoon!

    Follow back :) From Cupcakes, With Love x

  • Mandy

    I'm new to your blog, and I am so happy I found it! I have been trying to get myself to blog about the idea of forgiveness for a few weeks now because there are a few people who I really need to forgive, and I'm having a very difficult time with it.

    I appreciate your words, and they gave me a lot to think about. After all, it's all about choosing what type of person we want to become.

  • Ms Bubu

    Yes, it's been about a year now that I decided I didn't want to be a bitter person. I prefer to put my energy into thinking and feeling positive instead of getting angry in my head. The only person that bitterness is hurting is us.

  • Anusha

    Yup.. I spent so much time just dwelling in the past and all it did was make things worse. Totally agree with everything you said.