Be a Thankful Southerner, Not a Bitter One

Martin Luther King, Jr. said “never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

Moon Lake, Mississippi ©2016 The Delta Bohemian®

Thankful Southerner Magical Madge captures another beautiful sunset on Moon Lake, Mississippi ©2016 The Delta Bohemian®

Martin Luther King, Jr. said “never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.” This constitutes sage advice from a peace-loving man.

If I am not thankful when I have lots to be thankful for, then I sure as hell will not be thankful when the sh*t hits the fan, which is the very time God tells me to really be thankful—because that’s when the trust comes in.

I am a Southerner by birth and by choice and I want to be a thankful Southerner by choice and not a bitter one by choice or default.

Seriously, who do you, me, and most folks of every stripe want to be around? People who are thankful, not bitter! Bitterness lends itself to being high maintenance, irritable, angry, temperamental, judgmental, pessimistic, nugatory, self-absorbed, arrogant, a Donnie or Debbie Downer, negative, and last but certainly not least, TOXIC.

Now, I can exhibit most of those characteristics in a 20-minute time span if I am not careful, but I am not proud of it, nor should anyone be. We want to be around real people, warts and all, but we don’t want to be around the consistently pissed off, which is a fine definition of bitterness.

It’s okay to be righteously angry, but to be bitter one has to foster and love on the hate leading to bitterness not to betterness (not a word but that’s okay). A thankful heart is a choice, and too often not an easy one, but thankful folks, regardless of circumstances, are much happier than owners of a bitter heart.

Bitterness and thankfulness have a hard time melding in the same cup, and a thimbleful of thankfulness can trump a cup of bitterness, if the owner of a bitter heart will acquiesce to the balm of gratefulness. Nothing good comes from a bitter heart but a self-inflicted, slow demise, infecting every cell and everyone in its orb.

Do some people have reasons to be bitter? Absolutely! Does bitterness make their situations better? Absolutely not! I often let bitterness and resentment and disgust and a sense of fair play violated get me sidewise, but I have yet to see one good thing in life come out of my bitterness.

Unthankful, bitter, full-of-resentment people will never be happy or find joy. Happiness is a state of mind, a feeling, and joy is more of a state of mind based on a decision to be thankful. Bitterness conflicts with thankfulness and if they can’t be in relationship with one another then thankfulness is the route, no doubt!

Oprah Winfrey admonished: “Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Life ain’t fair, and determinism no doubt squarely puts many people living on the margins in difficult situations, but everybody—rich, poor, black, white, Northern, Southern, European, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. have a choice, and that oft difficult choice is to not choose bitterness. Resentment has been compared by many as drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die.

I leave the reader with a quote by some philosopher cat named Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr: “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.”

Happy Thanksgiving even if it ain’t! God Bless! Chilly

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  1. David Shipp says:

    Well said young man! Nothing worse than being around anyone who terminally unhappy. Hope you and Madge are well. Happy holidays my friend.


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