Dear John… Breaking Up With Bitterness

At some point in our lives we are all going to get hurt. We hope when hurt comes it will be something small, something easy to shrug off, and often it is.  Sometimes, though, it’s the type of hurt that feels momentous and life changing, the type of hurt that changes the way we look at the world and damages our ability to trust. When those hurts come along its natural to feel angry and sad, to grieve and to cry, to withdraw and seek to tend our wounds, but eventually we have to do something about our hurt.

We have to decide to either hold on to it – store it away in some deep place in our heart so that it stands as a constant reminder of the wrong done to us and teaches us that no one is really trustworthy, or we have to choose to forgive.
Forgiveness is not really an attractive prospect is it? I mean, it’s full of hard work and dealing with painful feelings, but what’s the alternative? The alternative is that we can let the wrong done to us continue to hurt us everyday because we insist on holding on to it. For us to refuse to forgive, we have to be willing to constantly remind ourselves what happened to us that has made us hurt. It’s like hurting ourselves over and over and over again. And sooner or later that hurt changes us, it makes us see the world with less joy and more suspicion, it makes us look for the bad in everything- it makes us bitter.
I don’t want to become a bitter person.
That’s why, I’m committed to breaking up with bitterness and no good breakup is complete without a “Dear John”, so here is mine…
Dear John,
You and I have been living together for a long time now (holding on to hurt gives bitterness a home in our heart and allows it to become second nature).
I’m not happy (reminding ourselves about the hurt we’ve experienced sucks the joy out of life). When we first met I thought that I really wanted you (after all, when we’re hurt anger and revenge look pretty attractive, the problem is that they can’t actually undo the pain we are feeling) but I can see now that I’m trapped (ultimately hanging on to hurt makes us miserable). So today I’m ending it (making the deliberate decision to live in forgiveness) no matter what it costs (not denying the wrong that was done but releasing it and choosing not to dwell on it anymore). I deserve so much more (we can choose to look forward to the good that waits for us) and I’m going to start looking for it (we can decide to open up to trust again – maybe with more discretion this time). I know we may still see each other now and then (sometimes when we’ve been hurt, the same issue will raise it’s head again – not all hurts are quickly healed) so I hope you understand if I just nod and keep on walking (deal with pain as soon as it happens and be committed to move on). The truth is, I’ve met someone new (forgiveness) and I’m pursuing a relationship with them instead. I’d like to say thanks for the memories, but really, they aren’t that great.

Yours truly,




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