Would you consider yourself to be a bitter person? Do you struggle with feeling deep regrets about things in your past? Bitterness and regret can a difficult cycle to break. It can even be a self-destructive behavior because it can keep you from seeing present opportunities; it can rob you of your motivation; and it can lead to other problems.
As someone once said, “Bitterness is an acid that destroys its container.” Regret and bitterness are often two sides of the same coin. If someone is bitter, they probably have regrets. If someone has deep regrets, they’ll probably become bitter.
Bitterness and Regret for INTJs
INTJs are constantly using their dominant function, introverted intuition, to look for patterns in the world. When we experience some frustration or failure, we try to make sense of what’s going on. It’s easy to focus on some event or pattern and begin to blame ourselves (or others) for our failures and disappointments.
We easily see how A leads to B, and B leads to C. Therefore, we can place blame on “B” if “C” turned out badly. We can say, “If I had never done B, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”
I can remember that when I was in my early 20’s, I had a terrible sense of bitterness and regret. I had a huge chip on my shoulder. I looked at my circumstances—no career direction, financial poverty, health issues, bad relationships, etc.—and I blamed myself and others.
I felt that if I had just been better prepared for a career, or if my father had not left, or if I had someone to mentor me, or if such and such had never happened—maybe I wouldn’t have fallen into that situation. It was a horrible period in my life.
Perhaps you’re struggling with bitterness or regret. Maybe it’s because of a bad relationship, career move, or something else. While there’s nothing wrong with recognizing past failures or bad experiences, you’ve got to let it go and move on.
How INTJs Can Overcome Bitterness and Regret
Here are a few ways that I moved on from my regret and bitterness over my mistakes and failures.
- Remember that everyone fails. The great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to say that failure is an event, not a person. You’re not a failure because you’ve failed, and you’re not a failure because you’ve yet to realize success. Stop beating yourself up, because you’re wasting precious energy that you could be using to change your circumstances. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future.
- Remember that your mistakes and failures are never a total waste, so don’t get too upset about them. You can use that experience to make better decisions in the future. I love Thomas Edison’s attitude when he was trying to perfect the light bulb. It reportedly took him around 1,000 experiments to perfect it. When asked about it, Edison replied, “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have succeeded in finding 1,000 ways that it will not work.” Every mistake or failure you make can actually be profitable. Learn from it.
- Remember that you can’t control everything. There are some things out of your control. That probably makes a lot of INTJs feel uneasy. We tend to be control freaks and perfectionists who try to plan every detail of our lives. However, we can’t control everything. Unexpected things will happen to throw you off your game. You just have to learn to roll with the punches.
- Look at the Big Picture. You may be suffering now, but five years from now, your life could be totally different. The only logical move forward is to let go of your bitterness or regret. I can remember watching a documentary titled Born Rich. It was a film about children born to extremely wealthy parents. One of the speakers in the film was Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter. Donald Trump is a controversial and wealthy businessman. In the film, Ivanka talked about a financial reversal her father experienced. His net worth plunged into negative numbers. She recalled that one day she and Donald were walking down the street. Donald Trump stopped, pointed to a bum on the street, and asked, “Do you see that man over there?” Ivanka replied, “Yes.” Donald said, “That man has more money than me.” Eventually, Trump bounced back and his net worth is once again in the billions of dollars.
If you’re struggling with bitterness and regret, I want you to do something. Take your hand, and make a fist. Squeeze it as hard as you can. Keep squeezing for as long as you can stand it. Then, I want you to let it go. You’ll notice that your hand will begin to feel so much better.
The only solution for bitterness and regret is to let it go. You’ll feel so much better. Stop thinking about it, stop blaming others, and stop letting it hold you back from your future success and happiness. Bitterness is an acid that destroys its container. Don’t let it destroy you.
Yes, maybe you had a hard time. Maybe you had lousy parents. Maybe you had a lousy husband or boyfriend or wife. Maybe someone harmed you physically. Maybe your business failed. Maybe you dropped out of school and feel that you’ve blown your career. Whatever may be hurting you, just let it go.
You may be poor today yet a millionaire in five years. You may be lonely today yet have a happy family in five years. You’re not dead yet, so keep living.